Speak love

My kids are all under 10. My brain so isn’t in the older kids phase—in fact, many times I still feel like an older kid. But my friend Annie? She’s around young women all the time, and she has a gift. For making me laugh like almost no one else, and also for speaking amazing truth to that unique age demographic.

Her latest book, Speak Love, does just that. Annie’s radical call is to end the mean girl mentality, and she travels the country, talking to young women about the imperative yet simple truth that their words matter. They can cause hurt like nothing else imaginable—or they can build life that allow the most unbelievable things to happen. Each of us has the power to choose.

I can’t wait for my almost nine-year-old girl to read this. She probably will, soon. (She already has a poster of the book cover hanging in her room, so I’d wager she’ll be ready before I realize).

From the book’s description:

“…Everything you say—from what tell your friends, whisper about your enemies, post online, mutter to yourself, or even say to the celebrity you ran into at the coffee shop—carries a whole lot of power. The question is, are you ready to use that power to make a real difference? Because the truth is, you could be part of the first generation who uses their words to build up and not tear down, and even kill the mean girl mentality. …Because when you speak love, you speak life. And that’s what matters.”

annie downs

This book would make a fantastic gift for any young girl in your life. Annie’s words are gold, and they’re life-giving. She’s one of my favorite people in real life—her books represent her beautifully.


Annie wants to give TEN Art of Simple readers a copy of Speak Love! Just in time for the holidays. To enter, simply leave a comment on this post and tell us to whom you’d love to gift this book.

speak love

(If you’re reading via email, please click over to the post to leave a comment.)

This contest will end this Friday, December 13, and we’ll announce the winners soon after. I hope you win!

Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

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  1. Mary Matheson says:

    I would like to give this to my daughter, she is 12 years old. Thank you!

  2. This would be great for my sister!

  3. I lead a small group of young girls at our church and would love to read this book with them! I also have four daughters, the oldest being 11, so I would read it with them soon as well 🙂

  4. I just listened to her and Kat Lee (on her Inspired to Action podcast) do an interview last week–it was so good! I’d love to (ahem) first read this myself, and then pass it on to a precious 9-almost-10 year old girl who is a friend’s daughter.
    Sarah M

    • My daughter will be ready for this before I know it. Also, I mentor a fourteen year old girl and this would be great!

  5. I have a 15 year old daughter to read it now and a 7 year old to read it a few years from now.

  6. April Campbell says:

    Oh my! My oldest will be 10 this week. I would give this book to her.

  7. This book sounds like it would be amazing to go through with the teenagers in my husband’s youth group. I’d also love to encourage my daughters to read it once they are older.

  8. I would love to use this with the high school and college students I work with. Sounds amazing. I’m sure I could learn a lot from it too. (And I, too, sometimes still feel like an “older kid.”)

  9. The world needs more of this. I’m curious to give it a read.

  10. I would LOVE to give this to my sweet girl Vivi, who is 12.

  11. Not surprisingly, I would like to give this to my 11-year-old daughter. It sounds like exactly what I try to tell her about keeping her kind heart in a world where casual cruelty is accepted and even kind of admired.

  12. I would love to have my 4 girls read this book! I so want them to be part of the generation of girls that ends the mean girl mentality. Our oldest suffered as a result of a group of mean girls, and she is on a mission already to guide her younger sisters to be the type of young women that speak love!

  13. I would love to give this to my precious 15 year old daughter!

  14. I would like to have a copy to read with my 9 year old and then later with her 3 younger sisters. Thanks.

  15. I would like to read this book as I have a daughter.

  16. I would love this for my 10 year old daughter!

    • MYSELF and my 12 yr old daughter…and borrow it to my sis in law and her daughter…and my good friend and her daughter….you get the idea. 🙂

  17. This sounds like such a good read for myself and my two young ladies!!! Added it to my reading list!

  18. My daughter – I think everyone will benefit from hearing this message though!

  19. I’d love to read this myself so I can tell and share with others and be a better person. What’s that saying, “Be the change you want to see in the world?” I need to speak more love and would love the chance to add Annie’s thoughts and inspiration to my days and words. From there I have many friends and sisters and nieces and cousins and daughters with whom I would be sharing the book.

  20. My daughter is too young to read this (she’s 6), but she’s not too young for the message. She already comes home from school some days distraught about the way the girls in her class play at recess. She seems very sensitive to unfairness and the slightest hint of the mean-girl-boss-of-recess mentality. I want to help her navigate these feelings, and in a way that inspires her to be loving and supportive, instead of just trying to beat the mean girls at their own game. So I would give this book to my daughter, and myself.

  21. I would love to give this to my 9 year old daughter. In fact, I’d love to read it myself!

  22. This would be fun to read with my daughters!

  23. Thank you for sharing this book. I have two daughters, and friends with daughters in our homeschool co-op and missional community. This is a topic my teenage son and I were discussing recently and may be something that could benefit the teachers and young ladies at the Christian release-time class up at the public school. So in all honesty I would like to read it first and share. 🙂

  24. I’d like to give it to a young, teenage girl in our church.

  25. My three daughters would benefit greatly…thanks

  26. This sounds like a wonderful book, to possibly begin a powerful, life changing, movement that is so needed in today’s culture. I would love to have this for my 7 yr. old daughter, myself, my 12 yr. old niece, and my sister-in-law.

  27. I have been seeing this title around and wanting to read it. My kids aren’t old enough yet, but I have nieces that are in the tween/early teen stage that I would love to give this too!

  28. We NEED this book at our house. I would give it to my two preteen daughters, 8 1/2 and 10 1/2, then read it myself!!!We are learning how to deal with these issues daily even in elementary school!

  29. I a very close to my niece and her daughter. They would love it and share it. Such beautiful women!

  30. I would give this to my 15 year old daughter, thanks so much 🙂

  31. I’d love to read this with my daughter and share it with her teachers.

  32. I would give to my neice or save for my children 🙂

  33. As a teacher, I would love to read this for myself to help me better equip my young girl students for positive peer relationships. Would also hang onto it for my two daughters as well but they’re a little young now (3 and 1).

  34. My lovely goddaughters.

  35. My daughter is only three now, but I wouldn’t mind reading it and I have nieces for whom this would be a perfect gift.

  36. Great message! I strongly believe words DO have power. I’d love to read this book and then pass it onto my cousin who is just about to head into those teenage years.

  37. I have a niece who would probably benefit greatly from this book. I would most likely read it as well!

  38. My daughter for sure, but would also love to read it myself with a group of mom’s with young daughter’s.

  39. How amazing – I just added this book to my Pinterest “Books to Read” board this morning! I would give this to my 13-year-old daughter.

  40. I would love to give this book to my 14 yr old daughter, who is in 8th grade. Middle school seems so much “harder” girl-wise than when I was her age! Thank you for the post–the book will go on my “to read” list no matter what 🙂

  41. My 2 daughters aren’t old enough yet but I’ve been around teens enough to know they’ll need it soon enough. Thanks!

  42. I would love to give a copy to my daughter!

  43. Honestly? I want to read it myself. And then reread it again and again until I get it right. So by the time my four and a half year old girl is ready to read it and live it, she’s already seen me model it for half her life. I forget too often the power my words hold. I would love to train myself to use them for good and not for harm.

  44. I’d love to read this to my daughter!

  45. I’d love to give this to my 12 year old daughter.

  46. I have a beautiful 12 year old daughter, Maggie. I think this would be a perfect read for her and her friends…maybe in a small group where they can discuss it?

  47. As a small group leader for nine 7th grade girls, I would love to give this book to each one of them. I know it will meet ten right where they are. God bless Annie- I love what she is doing.

  48. You’re an inspiration! I would love to give this to my daughter (I wouldn’t mind reading it, myself!).

  49. I would love to give this to my preteen daughter who will be entering the scary world of middle school soon!

  50. Great giveaway!! I would love this book,

  51. my youth pastor & his wife! and me! 🙂

  52. I would save it for my daughters.

  53. I’d love for my daughter to read this, but would also love to share it with her teacher to use in class.

  54. I lead a group of 7th and 8th grade girls in a bible study at church. My goal when beginning this journey was to teach these girls how valuable they are to Jesus.

    • My neice, Alex, who just turned 13 would be the recipient if I won. I work with 7th graders all day long, so perhaps I’d read it first and use the messages as a springboard in my own classroom.

  55. What a great message to start with girls when they are young. Would love to read this with my daughter when she is old enough. Thank you for sharing.

  56. What a great message to start with girls when they are young. Would love to read this with my daughter when she is old enough. Thank you for sharing.

  57. This would be wonderful to read with my daughter.

  58. Such an important topic to talk about. I don’t have daughters but I do need to be mindful of how I talk about others in front of my son, lest he think it’s okay to be two-faced and polite one second only to gossip behind their back. I would love first, to read this book, then second to give it to my nieces, who are in the throes of the middle school years.

  59. This would definitely be awesome for all of us in our family. I also have some nieces to share this with.

  60. I’d love to read this with my girls.

  61. Helping my daughter through the mean girl garbage is what I dread the very most about parenting. She’s almost 10 now, and unharmed so far, but I am so fearful it’s on it’s way. I would love this book for she and her friends.

  62. I have 3 daughters and would LOVE for them to read this book. It is so important that we teach our children (both girls and boys) the power of our words!

  63. I’d love to win this for my sweet niece, Blair!

  64. I have a 16 year old daughter and 16 year old niece that I could see them reading this book together.

  65. I’d love to read this book with the youth group at my church — I’m sure I could benefit from it too!

  66. My 12 year old would read this over and over. Thank you for the opportunity.

  67. I would love to give this book to my 12 year-old daughter.

  68. I would love to give this book to my daughter who is 17. She has been at a Christian school all these years but will be going to a public university in the fall. I think this could really help her make a positive difference on her campus!

  69. This sounds like a good book! I have a teen age daughter, so of course I’d love to win this for her.

  70. Would love to read it myself and then share it with all 4 girls and the 2 brothers who still need to have the skills to navigate through mean girl waters.

  71. I would love to give this to my 12 yr old niece. And I’m sure I will be reading it soon for my own three daughters.

  72. I would love to read it and then share it with other women and girls at church so that we could discuss the ideas.

  73. I’d love to read this with my teen daughter.

  74. I would give this book to my daughters teacher, (after I read it 😉 sounds like a great read.
    thank you

  75. I would read it and share it with my daughters in a few years.

  76. Though my daughter is likely too young for this at this point, both my partner and I coach local sports (swimming and gymnastics) and the girls in these programs could really benefit from this message!

  77. Kirsten Dehmlow says:

    This would be perfect for my almost 13 year old daughter.

  78. Melissa Webb says:

    I would give this to my 12 year old daughter who at times has issues trying to tame her tongue. 🙂

  79. My niece, Dorey! My sister runs a small group called Godly Girls, and I know something like this would be huge for these eighth graders. Thanks!

  80. my 11 year old daughter would greatly benefit

  81. Gabrielle W. says:

    Looks like a fantastic read! I’d read it myself first 🙂 then pass it on to one of the teenage girls at my church. Hopefully it would circulate around after that!

  82. I would LOVE to give and read this with my 10 year old daughter and my 7 year old in a few years.

  83. I would like to read the book myself, and then give it to my 13-year old niece!

  84. Oh my goodness, this book looks amazing. I will order it if I don’t win for my 13 year old daughter. What a lovely giveaway!

  85. I’d love to give this to my oldest daughter. Words are powerful.

  86. I’d live to give this to my almost 9-year-old.

  87. Love this! I’d give this book to my daughter who is 9 and already experiencing the mean girl drama.

  88. I would love to read this myself and then give it to my daughter in a few years. I think so many people would benefit from this book!

  89. Brooke Wells says:

    What a great topic! Words are so powerful and their effect so often underestimated. Would love to gift this to a special girl.

    Thanks for the chance to win!

  90. I would love to give this book to my teen stepdaughter for Christmas.

  91. Amy Brown-White says:

    Hmmmm truthfully I would love to have this book for myself 🙂
    I was a teacher for many years and learned that its so easy to be unkind to a child by using sarcasm and I REALLY BELIEVED IT WAS A WAY TO MANAGE my most difficult students. It isn’t. I would donate this book to Kingston City Schools where I am on leave (since the birth of my son). I have seen the effects of unkind speech from teacher to student, administration to teacher, teacher to teacher and student to student, but more succinctly girl to girl. Possibly this book could be a great resource for the District. I will buy my own to use in instruction and in my own life. Much Success!

  92. This topic is so heavy on my heart. I am a mom to 12 ~ Eight of them are girls. I so want them to learn to be each other’s encouragers! I can’t wait to read this book!!

  93. I would love to give this to my 12 year old daughter. We’ve been talking a lot lately about how it is not only what you say something but also how you say things that matters.

  94. This would be the perfect stocking stuff for my 13 year old daughter.

  95. What a wonderful idea, and so powerful. I would love to give this to my big girl who is 6 1/2. She is an avid reader and such a warm soul. I love that the topic of this book really keeps the innocence of what it means to be a little kid, while teaching the power of our actions as we grow older. Perfect!

  96. I have a daughter that is almost 7, but she already comes home speaking of girls talking about “best friends” and such. I’m also a leader for our area’s jr and sr high youth and would love to read it to share with them as well.

  97. Sounds like a book that can be shared with my daughter and her classmates, as well as, the older girls in our school. We all could use the reminder to choose what we say carefully.

  98. With three of our four children being girls, ages ranging from 17 to 2, I would love to give it a read myself and pass it down to each one. This is an important message that I have been trying to instill in all my children. I would love for this book to circulate in EVERY social circle.

  99. My nieces and daughters would benefit from this book.

  100. Will share this with my 10 year old daughter and her 12 year old cousin!