Showing posts with label Isabel Sánchez Vegara. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Isabel Sánchez Vegara. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Simone de Beauvoir by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Christine Roussey


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Simone Lucie Ernestine Marie Bertrand de Beauvoir was a French author and philosopher, and very close companion of Jean-Paul Sartre. She lived through most of the twentieth century, and left a strong legacy of feminism. She wrote novels, biographies and an autobiography, and she made a lasting impression on literature.

Illustrated simply but colorfully by Roussey, this book tells a concise and easy-to-read story of her impressive life from her well-to-do origins, through her family's loss of fortune, to a decent education, to a life spent as a single woman, giving birth to literature instead of children, by her own choice. She pretty much became a feminist before there were women recognized as such (back then they were called trouble-makers!), and a philosopher long before earning any academic credentials. It just goes to show that girl-power isn't a modern invention!

She lived a long and productive life and while I would not agree with the assertion that she "was the first person to write about women making their own choices" (has the author not heard of female authors such as Emmeline Pankhurst, Mary Wollstonecraft and even earlier, women such as Japanese poet Izumi Shikibu?!), she definitely made substantive contributions to what was known back then as emancipation.

I think books like this - part of a series of strong females of history - are highly important for young children - male and female - to read, and this is one more in a series I have been happy to support (with one exception!). I commend this one as a worthy read.


Thursday, August 2, 2018

Anne Frank by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Sveta Dorosheva


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This tells a story everyone should know. Like Jane Austen, Anne Frank was a writer from a young age and she also died tragically young, thereby robbing the world of yet another worthy voice, but other than that, her story was radically different from that of Jane Austen.

Escaping Nazi Germany to live in Holland, the Franks thought they were safe, but they were not. They spent endless months in the middle of the war living hidden in a factory, but they were betrayed and split-up, and taken to concentration camps. Anne died just a few weeks before the camp was liberated. Her father was the only one of the family who survived those horrors. Her diary, mercifully, had not been destroyed and her father saw to it that it was published so that everyone might know her story. This book tells that story admirably, and I commend it.


Jane Austen by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Katie Wilson


Rating: WORTHY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

This is another in a series aimed at making well-known historical people well-known to young children and as such is an admirable effort, if sometimes misguided as my previous review made clear. This one, however was a better offering. Austen needs no introduction which is presumably why this book gets right down to it!

It tells of her childhood (she was born only a hundred fifty miles or so from where I was born!), as a young girl in a large family of mostly boys, her listening in on her father's tutoring classes, and her love of reading. Jane Austen took up writing at an early age and made some interesting and amusing efforts at it. Her The History of England, which I read and reviewed last month as part of a review of her minor works, was hilarious.

The book, perhaps because it is aimed at children, mentions nothing of the tragedy of her death at such a young age (she had barely entered her forties), right in the middle of writing a new novel. But the story this does tell is positive, and empowering for your girls, and hopefully at least a few who read this will be moved to become writers themselves.


Mother Teresa by Isabel Sánchez Vegara, Natascha Rosenberg


Rating: WARTY!

This is from an advance review copy for which I thank the publisher.

Illustrated in color but very simplistically by Natascha Rosenberg, this book tells the breathless story of Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu who was canonized in 2016 as Mother Teresa for at best, dubious miracles and her work among the suffering in Kolkata (aka Calcutta) in India.

I have to take issue with this book because Mother Teresa had far to many questionable practices to be worshipped as a saint, and this book mentions none of them. Wikipedia has a pretty decent coverage of this topic: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Criticism_of_Mother_Teresa. Information can also be found from other sources.

The problem with this book is that it swallows the hype far too easily and does nothing to mediate it. I cannot commend a book about a woman who actually said, "I think it is very beautiful for the poor to accept their lot...I think the world is being much helped by the suffering of the poor people." while taking in hundreds of thousands of dollars in gifts.