'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Tuesday 10 December 2013

Review: Amazing Babes

Amazing Babes is 'a picture book for kids and adults' that reminds us of the remarkable ideas, determination, creativity, ingenuity, passion, vision and compassion of women across the generations and across the world.

Simple enough to be appreciated by toddlers and fascinating enough to capture the attention of children, teens and adults, this is a picture book to inspire and encourage both girls and boys as they dream big dreams and hope to achieve amazing things.

I was fascinated to learn that Amazing Babes was originally written as a gift from a mother to her son and after my initial surprise, I wondered that it had never occurred to me that it is equally important that we raise both our daughters and our sons with an awareness of the incredible contribution made to our society in so many ways by inspirational women across the generations.

Of course, the message isn’t just that women can do anything, but that whatever our perceived ‘disadvantage’ – age, gender, location, education, circumstance, background or culture – we can make a difference.

Photo credit: Hilary Walker
The picture book features illustrations by Grace Lee matched with a single text statement by author Eliza Sarlos highlighting a particular character trait for each woman featured. The book begins with ‘As I grow…’ and then continues to wish for the courage, vision, inspiration, empowerment, compassion, curiosity and more of the women featured. At the end of the book there is a brief summary of the work of each woman, which is just enough to encourage older readers to research further.

I love the diversity of the women profiled in the book, from artists and writers to doctors, inventors, social workers, freedom fighters, activists and charity workers. The women featured demonstrate that it is possible to be passionate about a cause and overcome the limitations others attempt to place on our dreams and aspirations.

Photo credit: Hilary Walker
There will be familiar names for most readers – Gloria Steinem, Malala Yousafzai, Hedy Lamarr, Frida Kahlo, Mum Shirl (Shirley Smith) and Edith Cowan – but there will also be new names to research further. For me, these included Shami Chakrabarti, Leymah Gbowee, Camila Batmanghelidjh and Elizabeth Garrett Anderson.

Amazing Babes is a wonderful concept delivered in a format that is accessible to all ages. It should be included in classroom and school library collections to inspire classroom discussions and would just as easily find a place on home bookshelves to offer encouragement and inspiration to children and adults alike.

Photo credit: Hilary Walker

Title: Amazing Babes
Author: Eliza Santos
Illustrator: Grace Lee
Publisher: Scribe Publications, $24.95 RRP
Publication Date: November 2013
Format: Hard cover
ISBN: 9781922070715
For ages: 4+
Type: Picture Book