Book Review: Herstory

Book Review: Herstory


Herstory: 50 women and girl who shook the world

Written by Katherine Halligan

Illustrated by Sarah Walsh

112 pages

Published by Nosy Crow

Publication date: 1st March 2018

Summary (from Goodreads):

Instead of just studying history, let’s think about HerStory too! In this uplifting and inspiring book, children can learn about 50 intrepid women from around the world and throughout history. Telling the stories of their childhood, the challenges they faced and the changes they made, each gorgeously illustrated spread is a celebration of girl power in its many forms. With a range of pioneering careers – from astronauts to activists, musicians to mathematicians and many more – young readers will be inspired to follow their own dreams and to make the world a better place. Compelling, motivating and brilliantly illustrated in equal measure, this is the perfect introduction to just some of the amazing women who have shaped our world.

List of women featured: Elizabeth I, Joan of Arc, Indira Gandhi, Theresa Kachindamoto, Empress Wu Zetian, Harriet Tubman, Boudicca, Hatshepsut, Isabella I of Castile, Sacajawea, Frida Kahlo, Beatrix Potter, Coco Chanel, Billie Holiday, Anna Pavlova, Mirabai, Maya Angelou, Georgia O’Keeffe, Emily Brontë, Sarah Bernhardt, Florence Nightingale, Helen Keller, Anne Sullivan, Mary Seacole, Shirin Ebadi, Maria Montessori, Mother Teresa, Wangari Maathai, Elizabeth Blackwell, Eva Perón, Marie Curie, Rachel Carson, Ada Lovelace, Hypatia, Rosalind Franklin, Mary Anning, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Hodgkin, Dian Fossey, Valentina Tereshkova, Malala Yousafzai, Rigoberta Menchú, Amelia Earhart, Hannah Szenes, Rosa Parks, Noor Inayat Khan, Emmeline Pankhurst, Cathy Freeman, Sophie Scholl, Anne Frank


What the Critics Said

“A lavishly produced book that looks at 50 women and girls who shook the world. Plenty of content and interesting details with lovely illustrations make this a comprehensive compendium.”

WRD Magazine

“It’s informative and moreish; a great gift for a young woman.”

i newspaper

“The things we look for in books like this are A) women we haven’t seen before / heard much about before and B) absolutely top-notch presentation, and HerStory delivers on both counts… A stunning, stunning book this.”

Read It Daddy, blog

“Celebrated in this lavish hardback, the stories of 50 great women redefine their “herstory”, from disability activist Helen Keller to Indian poet, singer and saint Mira Bai and Aboriginal Australian Olympic athlete Cathy Freeman.”

– BookTrust

“Halligan and Walsh offer approachable educational content about lesser-known subjects in a warm and vibrant visual presentation.”

– Starred review, Publishers Weekly

Preview the inside of this book on the publisher’s website.

First impressions: I picked this up from my local library, thinking it looked interesting, but also wondering if it would be able to stand out from the plethora of incredible books celebrating females around the world (Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Rebel Voices, etc). I intended to have a quick flick through, possibly reading a few pages each day as I often do with non-fiction books. Instead, I was immediately sucked in and didn’t emerge until several hours later, with a pile of notes next to me about how I could use it in my lessons or questions that I wanted to research further.

This is an absolutely fantastic book with fun facts, great illustrations and some photos and documents to back up the information included. I will be buying my own copy and have already ordered a few for our school library. I believe that this book, and others like it, should be required reading for everyone, male or female!

This book takes fascinating stories and complex history (herstory!), presenting it in an accessible and friendly way, without ever skimming over some of the trickier issues or sad endings. I learned so much though reading this, continued reading further about many of the women featured and ended up with a folder full of notes and photographs to share with my pupils.

Essential reading for all – I dare you to read this and not be amazed!

What I liked: Gorgeous illustrations, a wide range of women featured including from a variety of countries and cultures, pictures of ‘primary sources’ such as documents and photographs to complement the information presented. There was just enough about each woman to whet the appetite of the reader and this will certanly launch many into further reading!

Even better if: I didn’t want it to end!

How you could use it in your classroom: For a start, I believe that every library and classroom should have a copy of this. Aside from using this to celebrate women on International Women’s Day or in assemblies, this could be used as the introduction to any number of historical topics. I would love to use it to create a display or feature of ‘woman of the week’ or just to read sections from it to share some of the amazing accomplishments in this book. I can;t see many people reading this without being inspired so I am sure that teachers and pupils alike will come up with lots of ideas and questions after reading it. It is perfect to dip into as a quick class reader too!

(Thank you to my lovely library for having a copy on your shelves!)

While you’re here, why not check out my reviews of Home Sweet Home, Welcome to Our World, The Day War Came, Colour of People or The Hairy Hand?

Find me on Twitter , Goodreads or Instagram

Thanks for reading!


7 Comments Add yours

  1. (Kitty) Cat Strawberry - Meow! says:

    I love the look of this book, women should be celebrated more😊


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