Brief biographies of 52 intrepid women, spanning the globe and all centuries, are flanked by large, full-color illustrations and by maps that show the women’s adventuring sites.
The introduction sets up the idea that the book has been written by, for, and about human females—a bit unfortunate. The claim that these are women whom “the history books forgot about” is mostly true (Sacagawea, Joan of Arc, and Amelia Earhart are outliers) and explains why such noteworthy figures as Rosa Parks and Malala Yousafzai are just names at the bottom of the pages about Bessie Coleman and Nujeen Mustafa, respectively. Although the introduction suggests that being an adventurer is not related to monetary wealth, a good number of the women are from privileged backgrounds. The thoughtful glossary and endnotes—and the biographies themselves—help explain this. The artwork, reminiscent of art deco travel posters, is a gorgeous complement to the eclectic curation. The biographies are written in a conversational style, often including a short quote from the subject. The idea of adventuring is deliberately loose, with the biographies organized under categories of artists, pioneers, scientists, activists, athletes, and seekers. The tales range from being inspirational (most of them) to creepy (pirate queen Teuta had a Roman ambassador killed because he annoyed her) to weird (Manon Ossevoort drove a tractor to the South Pole in 2004). All are fun to read.
An exciting labor of love—for kids of all gender identities. (Collective biography. 8-12)