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


Saturday, September 1, 2018

Jane Goodall by Isabel Sanchez Vegara


Rating: WORTHY!

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

This is another in a series of books aimed at doing its part to redress the imbalance between genders when it comes to high achievers. This one shows young children that a determined young woman can do whatever she wants if she puts a mind to it.

The story simplifies Goodall's interesting and complex life considerably, but hopefully it will inspire children to read more about her as they mature. Her story is one of an abiding interest in animals ever since she was young, inspired in part by a plush toy she had as a child: a chimpanzee. From this simple beginning, she found her way to Africa and came into contact with famous human ancestry researcher Louis Leakey, who eventually dispatched her to work at Gombe, where Goodall's unorthodox research practices were at times criticized, but which nonetheless produced original and unexpected research results.

Goodall was one of three Leaky Ladies, so to speak, whom Leakey named 'The Trimates', the other two being Dian Fossey who died horribly at the hands of gorilla poachers, and Birutė Galdikas, who studied orangutans. Each of these has written one or more books on their studies. It would be nice to see a book in this series for each of the other two women. I commend this one as a great start.


Lucy Maud Montgomery by Isabel Sanchez Vegara


Rating: WORTHY!

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

This one covers the author of Anne of Green Gables who also authored many, many other books including sequels. Montgomery had a rather troubled childhood in that her mother died before Montgomery turned two, and her father felt incapable of raising a child. He immediately put her into the care of her maternal grandparents, who were rather cool towards Lucy. When she was seven, her father left to work elsewhere, making Lucy a very lonely child, so she made up imaginary friends and had a rich fantasy life to go with them.

It's this imagination which led her into writing, something she was very interested in from a young age despite some setbacks. When she had Anne of Green Gables published it was such a roaring success that she never looked back, focusing on fulltime writing, at which she was very prolific. This book does an admirable, if slightly fanciful job of depicting this writer's childhood and her determination to succeed, and I commend it as a worthy read for young children. We need serious writers and if this inspires more of them it can only be a good thing.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Josephine Baker by Isabel Sanchez Vegara, Agathe Sorlet


Rating: WORTHY!

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

This is a charmer of a book for young children, told by Vegara, and illustrated in charming simplistic color by Sorlet, it tells the spectacular story of Freda Josephine McDonald, a dirt poor girl from St Louis Missouri, who became known to the world as Josephine Baker, dancer, actor, and World War Two hero, who spoke out against racism and adopted a rainbow family of children to put her actions where her mouth was.

This book is part of a series (Little People, Big Dreams) aimed at young children, and relating the lives of outstanding people including:

  • Maya Angelou
  • Jane Austen
  • Agatha Christie
  • Marie Curie
  • Amelia Earhart
  • Ella Fitzgerald
  • Anne Frank
  • Jane Goodall
  • Audrey Hepburn
  • Frida Kahlo
  • Ada Lovelace
  • Georgia O’Keefe
  • Emmeline Pankhurst
  • Rosa Parks
  • Harriet Tubman

The list seems sadly more biased towards the arts than ever it is towards the sciences or engineering, or military or other public service, for that matter, but that really just reflects what a disproportionate influence celebrities have upon in modern society, doesn't it?

However, this book in particular tells a stirring story worth telling, and worth children learning, and I recommend it highly.