HERStory: 50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World, written by Katherine Halligan and illustrated by Sarah Walsh, 110 pp, RL 4
50 Women and Girls Who Shook Up the World
Written by Katherine Halligan,
illustrated by Sarah Walsh
Review Copy from Simon & Schuster
Why Read? Why Buy?: There will never be enough biographies for kids about diverse, traditionally underrepresented, inspirational people from all over the world. And, as long as they are as marvelously illustrated and designed as the titles I have been reviewing recently, I'll keep putting them on the shelves of my library. Herstory stands out for many reasons, the first of which is the organization or the subjects. Believe & Lead is followed by Imagine & Create, Help & Heal, Think & Solve. Hope & Overcome closes out the book, with back matter that includes a portrait gallery timeline of subjects, a glossary and index and, wonderfully, chapter explanations that put the headings into context for young readers while also encouraging deeper thought and further exploration. Subjects include familiar (to adults) names such as Joan of Arc, Coco Chanel, Helen Keller, Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie and Anne Frank. Less familiar (and often new to me) women like Theresa Kachindamoto, Malawi chief and children's rights activist, Mirabai, an Indian poet, singer and saint, Shirin Ebadi, Iranian human rights lawyer, teacher and activist, Dorothy Hodgkin, pioneering chemist and Nobel Prize winner, and Noor Inayat Kahn, Second World War secret agent and hero who was executed at Dachau.
On the page, information about each subject is chunked into three sections. Walsh's illustrations are superb and completely engaging. Decorative and intricate at times, her illustrations of each subject are thoughtful. When possible, photographs of the subjects and/or items important to their life stories are included, adding another layer significance and value to each subject.
Herstory is a worth addition to the growing number of illustrated biography collections for kids, girls in particular. With a cover price of $19.99, it is also good, no great value, for the content, illustrations and design.
If you or those important girls in your life need more inspiring reading material, definitely start with:
And, for tween, teen & adult readers, don't miss French illustrator and graphic novelist Pénélope Bagieu's collection. Originally appearing as a comic strip and with an acute eye for what makes these women the who they are, Bagieu excels at sharing the stories of a truly diverse collection of women. A part 2 of Brazen, titled Les Culottées in French, should be hitting our shores in the next year or so.