Publisher: ales100 tales of extraordinary womenIllustrated by 60 female artists from every corner of the globeHardcover BookFavilli, Elena (Author)
Age Range: 10-14 Middle/Secondary
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Written in bedtime story style, with a hundred mini biographies of significant women throughout history and from across the globe, this is a fascinating book. Readers are introduced to Egyptian pharaohs Hatshepsut and Cleopatra, present day politicians Aung San Suu Kyi and Hilary Clinton and activists Malala Yousafzai and Wangari Maathai. Significant women from the worlds of science, the arts, archaeology, espionage, exploration and athletics are included. Some names such as Florence Nightingale, Rosa Parks and Michelle Obama are well known but many are virtually unknown.
We discover the struggles many women have had to fulfil their potential in the face of constant opposition or obstinate lack of recognition. In some cases, such as Hatshepsut the first female pharaoh, being almost erased from history.
The writers researched carefully, consciously including countries not frequently represented in western print media such as Niger with the story of activist Balkissa Chaibu and the ‘Cholita Climbers’; mountaineers from Bolivia. From a UK perspective there are fewer entries than might be expected with a much higher percentage from the US. Perhaps UK children could consider who they might like to add to the collection and do some research of their own?
This is a significant project, published after a successful crowdfunding campaign. Concerned about what they perceive as continued gender stereotyping in media, the writers aimed to show that girls can be heroic and do amazing things too. Interviewed by Bookseller magazine co-author Elena Favilli said: ‘You don’t have to be a boy to make extraordinary things or do adventurous things. You can be adventurous on your own.’
This is a very attractive book with striking illustrations; full page portraits by sixty female artists are displayed alongside each mini biography. There is space at the back for young readers to write their own story or ambitions. The quotes on each page are a lovely addition, for example, this from Hillary Clinton after her presidential campaign:
‘To every little girl who dreams big, I say, yes you can be anything you want, even president.’
A book to open all children’s eyes to the role of women in our world’s ongoing story and inspire young girls to follow their dreams.