Books & Literature

Book Review: Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World Activity Book, by Kate Pankhurst

A children’s activity book that explores the achievements of women through history, from Sacagawea, an American Indian in 1804, to Rosa Parks in 1955.

Kate Pankhurst is a descendant of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, one of the great women included in this book. She is equally talented as a writer and an illustrator. Her drawings are a delight. I loved Frida Kahlo’s unibrow and Marie Curie, discoverer of radium, glowing green in tribute to the element’s radioactivity.

I particularly like that she has chosen women who are perhaps less well known to highlight the amazing things women have and are doing. We’ve probably all heard of Florence Nightingale who nursed soldiers in the Crimean War but how many of you have heard of the Jamaican, Mary Seacole who did the same and at her own expense?

The author manages to include many talented women over many years in a very slim volume. The earliest is Sacagawea, an American Indian. In 1804, with a new born baby on her back, she travelled with the Corps of Discovery expedition to the west coast of America. The most recent is Rosa Parks who began the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott by refusing to give up her seat to a white man in 1955.

Activities in the book include making a poster, writing and sending postcards to the amazing women you know, finding the difference between two pictures and writing a diary entry – just like Anne Frank did. Have some fun and read with the kids, play along in joining the dots, colouring in, following a maze and sticking more than 200 stickers all over the place!

My only criticism of the book is it seems to be directed solely at girls as part of the blurb on the back cover reads ‘The world is full of amazing women, including you!’. Surely, a major factor in women’s achievements being undervalued is that they are not known or recognised by men. It’s disappointing to see that the celebration of great women and their achievements is not directed at both girls AND boys.

Reviewed by Jan Kershaw

Rating out of 10:  8

Distributed by: Bloomsbury Publishing
Released: December 2017
RRP: $9.99

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