For me, Women’s History Month is a great moment to reflect on what is still to come and the progress thus far. There was a bit of row over WhatsApp and Facebook yesterday about whether to accept roses on this day or not, and I felt that, somehow, the debate got out of topic.
However, here is a mixed take on what there IS to celebrate and what we still have to accomplish, especially from a global perspective, let’s dive in, shall we?
First, an upcoming title:
Little People, Big Dreams: Amanda Gorman by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Author) Queenbe Monyei (Illustrator)
Almost reaching 100 titles with fascinating characters and people from all over the world at different moments in time (past and present), this present book is an homage to the wonderful poet and activist Amanda Gorman.
(You can nominate the candidate for the next book in the series, here).
The book focuses on the childhood of little Amanda, her love of reading and words, and the auditory processing disorder and a speech impediment that made her even more determined to utter and use words for their beauty.
It is still amazing to me to know that she was America’s first-ever National Youth Poet Laureate at the age of 19 and how it was such a pivotal moment for many of us to hear her recite ‘The Hill We Climb’ at the Presidential Inauguration in January 2021.
The illustrations by Queenbe Monyei are very nice, and the book, as every other Little People Big Dreams book, finishes with a page covering extra facts and a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of Amanda.
‘Little People, Big Dreams: Amanda Gorman’ will be on sale June 6th, 2023
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Series: Little People, BIG DREAMS
Up next, comes a biopic for young girls:
Work It, Girl: Beyoncé Knowles: Rule the Music Scene Like Queen by Caroline Moss (Author) Sinem Erkas (Illustrator)
I was very surprised by both the content and style of these series: especially the illustration style, I think I am in love with the illustrations featuring 3D cut paper artwork. To see the Queen portrayed regally in layers of paper was breathtaking.
The series is aimed at young girls and feature modern women in the world of work, from designers and musicians to CEOs and scientists.
The stories focus on transformative moments of their lives, following the ups and downs that they faced on their road to success. There are 10 key lessons and self-reflection questions to help girls apply them in their life… which sounds a bit directional to me, but nevertheless, to get to know some key aspects of this iconic woman was very interesting (and yes, to be Beyoncé means a LOT of work).
I think I have never seen someone work so hard before. It is interesting to read Caroline Moss on this:
One of the hardest parts about being a celebrity is the work involved to maintain it. But when Beyoncé was on stage or in front of the cameras, she was smiling and perfect and her work looked so effortless.
But people paying close attention knew the truth – Beyoncé was a swan; looking perfect and poised on top, but peddling fast and furious underneath the water.
‘Work It, Girl: Beyoncé Knowles’ is on sale since August 24, 2021
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books
Series: Work It, Girl
Finally, this is the debut novel of Parini Shroff, and I got to read it thanks to my brother, who listened to a presentation of the book on a Podcast. Kudos to him for thinking of me.
The Bandit Queens by Parini Shroff (Author)
This is a read that gives you a chill, even though it is supposed to be funny: when Geeta’s husband disappears, the entire village thinks that she murdered him. He was an alcoholic that used to beat her, and what she did when he walked out on her, was to recover her self-esteem and autonomy.
Because it gave her independence, she even accepted the rumors of being a witch and a murderess, at the cost of being lonely… She compared herself with The Bandit Queen, a local legend that surpassed all kinds of abuse and got her bloody revenge on her abusers.
The witty humor presented escalates when first one of the women in her financing group asks for her help into making her a “self-made” widow, and then another!
Freedom must look good on Geeta because now she has turned out to be a consultant for husband disposal.
This is a clever and well-written novel about friendship, women’s rights, the terrible prejudices widows and married women must undertake, the role counterfeit alcohol has to play, and how, sometimes, even murder seems justified… because of patriarchy.
The whole set of events, (laugh-out-loud funny at some moments, and very somber at others), has to do with what patriarchy does to women: it entraps them, forcing them to accept debt to marry, it kills livelihoods and hates self-reliance, and makes them feel just as vessels for children with no voice of their own, and THAT is what is left to tackle: the harsh reality of so many women around the world, who are forced to marry, forced to bear children with no love involved, and who must chip away for self-reliance and economic independence every day of their lives. That is where it stopped being funny to me, to tell you the truth.
The twist at the end was very satisfying because you see, some husbands will be murdered, some might even deserve it, but Geeta’s husband, the one that started all the rumors, he is not dead after all!
His coming back will change everything, not only for Geeta but for every woman in her village as well.
‘The Bandit Queens’ is on sale since January 03, 2023.
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Type: Hardcover, 352 pages