It’s hard to know these days whether to see the glass half-full or half-empty: Obama won a historic election powered by the youth vote and women.

On the other hand, it’s hard to know when the economy is really going to hit bottom.

Maybe we should be relieved that we’re heading into this season of gratitude. To be sure it may take us all a little longer to count our blessings this year, or to figure out what counts as a blessing these days, so here are some thoughts from my Girl Talk perspective.

I’m thankful for:

1. Blue Sex—Margaret Talbot has a fascinating analysis of some recent and forthcoming research about teens, sex, and religion in the New Yorker. Talbot takes her title, “Red Sex, Blue Sex,” from sociologist Mark Regnerus’s research. I can’t do justice to the full article here, but I was especially struck by what Regnerus identifies as a new “middle-class morality.” According to Regnerus middle-class, well-educated young women “are interested in remaining free from the burden of teenage pregnancy and the sorrows and embarrassments of sexually transmitted diseases. They perceive a bright future for themselves, one with college, advanced degrees, a career, and a family. Simply put, too much seems at stake. Sexual intercourse is not worth the risks.”

This is great news for middle-class, well educated young women (and their parents).

But I’m even more excited about what it suggests for young women who are not middle-class, and for those of us who do education and advocacy work to support all girls and young women, because we can work together to create the potential for a “bright future.” I know that the Girl Scout Council of New York has just such plans in mind for its career exploration program that will be launching in Bronx middle schools.

2. Sasha and Malia Obama—My eight-year-old daughter was already a passionate follower of the Presidential campaign and the election itself; she and her best friend bet a quarter on the election outcome (my daughter came home with an extra quarter in her pocket on November 5), and she participated in a mock-election at her YMCA camp on election day. Now that she has peers in the White House, I’m willing to bet that national politics will stay on her radar screen, even if our attention is on the possible first pet or how the girls will get to school for now.

3.  The Little House on the Prairie Series—Reading is part of our family routine every evening, and we finished the Little House on the Prairie book series with my daughter about a year ago. I am especially grateful for the hardy, adventurous, strong-willed Laura Ingalls character now that our reading as turned to the offensive My Weird School series, with its sex-stereotyped characters, from the brainy, obnoxious girl to the bored and distracted boys. I’ve used these books as a way to talk about sex-stereotyping, and the ways it hurts girls and boys, but surely we can do better than this!

So GWP readers, do you have any tween books to recommend? Help me out and I’ll add those to my gratitude list too.  And I’m eager to know: What’s on your gratitude list these days?