A few weeks back we were contacted by Shrine Bell, the youth imprint of Vertebrate Publishing who specialise in outdoor adventure, to ask if we would like to review their new book, Fantastic Female Adventurers.
Written by Lily Dyu, Fantastic Female Adventurers chronicles the achievements of 14 remarkable women, with the aim of inspiring girls to think: 'I can do that too!' In the book's introduction, Lily describes her antipathy towards the outdoors as a kid. It was too muddy, too scary, and she couldn't imagine ever actually wanting to go out and explore. I could really relate to that because, although my own dad tried very hard to instil a love of the outdoors before his accident, it never quite worked.
It's only as an adult that I've started to appreciate the natural world around me!
I was excited, then, to find out what Marianna would make of it being smack in the middle of a princesses, sparkles and unicorns phase. She loved it! Ann Daniels' tale of arctic exploration lead to excited chatter about Anna's journey through the snow in Frozen, and Beth French's swimming exploits made her a real life mermaid.
Marianna's favourite chapter was on Ellen MacArthur. She loved the illustrations of the birds and, building on cash based numeracy activities, was especially taken with how Ellen saved up for her first boat while still at primary school.
My favourite was the story of Mira Rai, a Nepali trail runner who won her first race against all the odds , and we were both inspired by Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space. The book is aimed at ages 8+ and I was impressed with how child friendly the text was, even for younger kids, from the questions peppered throughout (e.g. 'would you like to live somewhere like that?') to explanations of measurements (e.g. 'less than ten metres away - closer than the length of three cars'). I was a big fan of Chellie Carroll's artwork too.
Fantastic Female Adventurers is due out this October. It is available in paperback from the Shrine Bell website for £10.99 at the moment, or you can pick up a Kindle version at Amazon.
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