Pregnant Girl: A Story of Teen Motherhood, College, and Creating a Better Future for Young Families (Hardcover)
A NPR BOOKS WE LOVE 2021 Selection
“[T]his book is so much more than a memoir . . . . Her prose has the power to undo deep-set cultural biases about poverty and parenthood.”—New York Times Book Review
An activist calls for better support of young families so they can thrive and reflects on her experiences as a Black mother and college student fighting for opportunities for herself and her child.
Pregnant Girl presents the possibility of a different future for young mothers—one of success and stability—in the midst of the dismal statistics that dominate the national conversation. Along with her own story as a young Black mother, Nicole Lynn Lewis weaves in those of the men and women she’s worked with to share a new perspective on how poverty, classism, and systemic racism impact teen pregnancy and on how effective programs and equitable policies can help teen parents earn college degrees, have increased opportunity, and create a legacy of educational and career achievements in their families.
After Nicole became pregnant during her senior year in high school, she was told that college was no longer a reality—a negative outlook often unfairly presented to teen mothers. Nicole left home and experienced periods of homelessness, hunger, and poverty. Despite these obstacles, she enrolled at the College of William & Mary and brought her 3-month-old daughter along. Through her experiences fighting for resources to put herself through college, she discovered her true calling and founded her organization, Generation Hope, to provide support for teen parents and their children so they can thrive in college and kindergarten—driving a 2-generation solution to poverty.
Pregnant Girl will inspire young parents faced with similar choices and obstacles that they too can pursue their goals with the right support.
About the Author
Nicole Lynn Lewis is a social entrepreneur and founder of the nonprofit Generation Hope. As a teen mother, she put herself through the College of William & Mary, starting as a freshman when her daughter was just 3 months old. She has been named a CNN Hero and won the Roslyn S. Jaffe Award. She has appeared on CNN, NBC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and many others, and her journey has been covered in the Washington Post, the Baltimore Sun, TeenVogue, the Chronicle for Higher Education, and others. Connect with her on Twitter (@NicoleLynnLewis).
“A frank, thoroughly contextualized portrayal of Black teen motherhood.”
“Told with empathy and nuance, Pregnant Girl is a remarkable and heart-wrenching memoir from an inspiring leader.”
“[T]his book is so much more than a memoir . . . .Her prose has the power to undo deep-set cultural biases about poverty and parenthood. It should be required reading for every lawmaker who will vote on whether to make the current child tax credit permanent policy.”
—New York Times Book Review
“You will learn something important about race, poverty, and gender . . . And about how hope can win over adversity.”
“Pregnant Girl is not just a powerful memoir; it’s an empowering guide for all of us. Nicole Lynn Lewis shows us that all our journeys matter, and the beauty of those journeys is not just the destination but the lessons of the path. I would highly recommend this book to all.”
—Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood, author of The Other Wes Moore
“[Nicole Lynn Lewis] makes a compelling case for the multifaceted approach that is necessary to ensure that all young people—particularly our youth of color and young parents—are able to make the choice to pursue a college education, earn a degree, and lead thriving lives. . . . It is an approach that is deeply rooted in the belief and call to action that is core to this book—that all young people are worthy of an education, worthy of resources and opportunity, and worthy of our every effort to help them reach their potential and soar.”
—Dr. John King, US secretary of education under President Obama