With wonderful illustrations by Sarah Walsh and highly readable, engaging narratives, this is a fantastic book for children of all ages. For each woman or girl featured there is a double page chock full of information, including maps, quotes and photographs. The stories of the women and girls cover both historical and contemporary heroines and some whose achievements deserve to be better known.
The book covers a vast sweep of history from Hatshepsut 1500 years BCE, Elizabeth I in the 16th century, through to Florence Nightingale, Harriet Tubman in the 19th century, right up to the present day which is deservedly represented by Malala Yousafzai, born 1997 in Pakistan and awarded the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous work in getting girls into education under the Taliban.
I like the way the women’s histories are divided into categories rather than chronologically. The five areas are: Believe and Lead; Imagine and Create; Help and Heal; Think and Solve; and Hope and Overcome. I was delighted to learn something new in each one of these categories as I came across a women or girl whose history and achievements I was unaware of. The reader can pick and choose or read from cover to cover – either way it’s completely captivating. At the end of the book is a terrific timeline of all the women and girls featured as well as a glossary which explains, perhaps, unfamiliar terms.
The book is much more than a history book which celebrates the world-shaking achievements of woman and girls who have often been overlooked by the usual white, male-centric histories we are presented with in school. It celebrates the passion and steadfastness of these women who often achieved their goals against the odds. As such, it will hopefully inspire young women and girls of the 21st century to pursue their dreams and ambitions and shake up the world themselves.
Reviewed by Jan Kershaw
Rating out of 10: 10
Distributed by: Allen & Unwin
Released: June 2018
RRP: $35 hardcover