Three Cheers for Women

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Marcia Williams, Three Cheers for Women, Walker Books Australia, 1 Feb 2018, 48pp., $27.99, (hbk),  ISBN: 9781406374865 

Well known for her retellings of classic stories, Marcia Williams uses humorous comic-strip illustrations to introduce young readers to the wonders of history, great literature and now great women throughout the ages: sportswomen, environmentalists, writers, artists, scientists, mothers and feminists, the list goes on. Many have become household names and yet many are still relatively unknown.

Mary Wollstonecraft (1759 – 1797) defied the gender type casting of the day to live the life of an author and radical feminist. She is now credited as a founder of feminism and an inspiration for women gaining the right to vote. Wangari Maathai, an environmentalist and peace activist, was born in Nyeri, Kenya in 1940. The first woman from East Africa to earn a doctorate degree she inspired women to make a difference to the environment in small ways by planting a tree. Thousands of women took up the challenge in what became known as the Green Belt Movement. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy work in “sustainable development, democracy and for promoting peace”. Closer to home Cathy Freeman has become a household name. Born an indigenous Australian in Queensland in 1973 she made her name as an athlete, winning medals in both the Commonwealth and Olympic games. Cathy Freeman has become an inspiration for young woman and through her advocacy work for indigenous rights, a symbol for uniting a nation.

Well crafted narratives told with a sense of fun and empathy, this collection of graphic stories draws the reader into inspirational lives and may be appealing to more reluctant readers. At the back of the book a brief synopsis of many more amazing girls and women demonstrates that women of any age with a vision or a passion really can make a difference.  Highly recommended for ages 7+.

Reviewed by Mem Capp

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