Charli Howard is a model, and a body positivity ambassador. She is the founder of the All Woman Project, a charity which works with young people to educate them about body image and mental health issues. Splash is her first novel which showcases her passion about young girls, their need for acceptance, and the power of peer pressures today. She has chosen to write about an eleven-year-old girl called Molly. Molly is tall, has broad shoulders, and strong legs, and loves the water.
The story raises several issues. There has been a strong friendship between Molly and Chloe since early school days, and both will be going to the same Secondary School next year. Molly is incredibly grateful that she will have Chloe’s friendship for this daunting change in her life. However, Chloe, who is popular, is also a dominating and fickle friend. Molly’s great love is swimming and Chloe persuades her that it is inappropriate for a young girl, and it just develops a strong body, and who wants that?
Molly’s need for acceptance from her friend, and the group almost makes her give up swimming. This is a common issue with young girls and sport today, as we see many teenagers drop out of physical activity because of body image. Charli Howard has also touched on factors which arise at this age and incorporated them into the story in a meaningful way. Meeting up with boys at the swimming club poses thoughts again about body image for Molly. She has been raised by her grandparents with much love but now her body is developing she has many questions which need answering.
For a first book, Charli Howard is to be congratulated. She has ensured that girls who read this will feel more empowered to make choices about themselves, with less regard to others thoughts. They may also see that often pressure results from envy from peers.
Hopefully we will see more of Molly in future books.