Thursday, April 5, 2018

Inspiring books for girls

Go Girl: A storybook of Epic New Zealand Women by Barbara Else (Penguin)

It's very appropriate in the year that we commemorate 100 years since New Zealand women were given the right to vote that there are a plethora of books about outstanding women. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls kick started the trend (published in 2016) and since then the following books have landed in our book shelves:

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst
Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World by Rachel Ignotofsky

Girls Think of Everything: Stories of Ingenious Inventions by Women by Catherine Thimmesh

Women Who Dared: 52 Fearless Daredevils, Adventurers, and Rebels by Jan Carr
Shout Out to the Girls: A Celebration of Awesome Australian Women by various authors

Now we have Go Girl written by Barbara Else and illustrated by some of our most talented illustrators such as Fifi Colston, Phoebe Morris, Ali Teo, Helen Taylor, Vasanti Unka and others.

The chosen women are ordered in alphabetical order of their Christian names, starting with Ahumai Te Paerata a young wahine who stood with her men in battle, but one year later shows compassion and saves a young Navy officer from a revenge killing. Then we jump to the 1970s and read Beatrice Faumuina's story of winning Gold at the World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. Forty-six biographies follow until the end pages, where you'll find a timeline showing where each woman featured from 1824 - present day. Each artist has drawn a picture of themselves and written a short bio, with a full page biography of the author Barbara Else (illustration of her drawn by Vasanti Unka).

You'll read stories about leaders, sports people, actors, scholars, writers, artists and pioneers. There are current people like Lorde, Lydia Ko, Ella Williams, Parris Goebel and those who have made historical firsts such as Elizabeth McCombs, Jean Batten, Yvette Williams and Whina Cooper. It's good to see a range of cultures represented including Maori, Chinese, and Pacific Island women.

Each entrant has a header page with a quote, the year they were born and died (if relevant), and where they lived. Then two pages of text covering their life history and a full page illustration. The text is simple and short, suiting 7-9 year old readers.

The illustrations are full colour and mostly stylised. Nine artists have drawn 5-6 illustrations each. I really like how Fifi Colston included backgrounds that represented what that person was well known for. For example, Kathryn Mansfield has a dolls house behind her, reminding us of one of Kathryn's most famous short stories.

Will be a popular book in Primary School libraries and households with 7-9 year-old girls. Go Girls and the books above will inspire young girls to reach towards their dreams and be empowered by these high-achieving role models.

Plus check out this Facebook site about incredible kiwi women called Our Wahine: 125 Extraordinary Women.

ISBN: 978-0-14-377160-0
RRP $45.00

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