Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around The World (Vashti Harrison)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around The World by Vashti Harrison, the dynamite sequel to Little Leaders.

Taking the same format as Leaders, Harrison introduces us to 35 more incredible women from history, this time broadening the focus to subjects from countries around the world, and from a myriad of ethnic backgrounds. Familiar feminist icons like Ada Lovelace, Hedy Lamarr, and Marie Curie join lesser known – yet no less impressive – trailblazers like Fatima Al-Firhi, founder of the oldest active university, and Esther Afua Ocloo, pioneer of the microlending movement to empower female entrepreneurs. Each woman was ahead of her time, courageous in her pursuits, and changed the world for the better, simply by being themselves and refusing to give up on their dreams.

Simply wonderful. Harrison has returned with a new crop of heroes for young girls (and boys), and we are glad for it. Where many of these anthologies can stumble with diversity, Dreamers has no such problem: the women presented are of a dizzying array of backgrounds, skintones, cultures, religions, and pursuits. Women of art, science, economics, politics, activism, philanthropy, and humanitarianism are each given brief yet thorough bios that do a great job of detailing their achievements while still giving a sense of their motivations and who they were/are as people. Harrison’s adorable figures, featuring open, serene faces and enigmatic smiles, are the perfect cherry on top. This is not a book for a single sitting, but can be broken into whatever-sized bites are right for your little bookworm. A wealth of mini-bios, glossary, and resource list complete the backmatter. JJ and I both learned from it, and loved it. An essential volume for every bookshelf, and Baby Bookworm approved!

Dress Like A Girl (Patricia Toht)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Dress Like A Girl, written by Patricia Toht and illustrated by Lorian Tu-Dean, a lovely lesson in self-expression and possibility.

As a group of friends gather for a sleepover, the text notes that when it comes to dressing like a girl, there are lots of rules: wearing white in the summer, keeping patterns subtle, and how to wear elegant black gowns. However, as the girls begin to pull out their costumes and play, the narrator encourages us to interpret these rules in new ways. After all, astronauts look great in white; jungle explorers can camouflage themselves with their subtle patterns, and you know who loves a flowing black robe? Orchestra conductors and judges, of course! And when it comes down to it, if the rules aren’t for you, well, sometimes rules are made to be broken. After all, there are plenty of ways to dress like a girl.

Marvelous. Any girl will tell you that when it comes to women’s fashion, the “rules” can be tough to navigate, so it’s nice that the ultimate message of the book it that girls should wear whatever makes them feel comfortable, creative, and like themselves. What makes this so special is the lead-up, and the clever juxtaposition between standard fashion rules and the limitless range of professions that girls can pursue. It reminds little ones that it’s okay for girls to have aspirations other than ballerinas or princesses (though those are fine too!). The art is splendid, featuring a diverse cast whose expressions and movements capture the joys of childhood and female friendship. The length is perfect, and JJ and I loved it. A great way to show readers that, be it in fashion or their future, girls should never be put in a box. Baby Bookworm approved!

A is For Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed The World (Eva Chen)

Hello, friends! Our book today is A is For Awesome: 23 Iconic Women Who Changed The World, written by Eva Chen and illustrated by Derek Desierto, a delightful alphabet book that introduces young readers to notable “sheroes”.

After a hearty welcome by Juno (protagonist of Chen’s previous book Juno Valentine And The Magical Shoes), the reader is given one-sentence introductions to (and occasionally quotations of) female role models of note, organized alphabetically by the letter of their first name – A is for Amelia Earhart, B is for Beyoncé, C is for Coco Chanel, and so on. The women range from scientists, entertainers, suffragists, athletes, artists, lawmakers, and even a bonafide goddess. X, Y and Z represent eXtraordinary You (accompanied by a full-page mirror), and the Zillions of adventures you’ll go on – just as awesome as all the ladies that came before.

What else can I say? AWESOME! Meant as a primer for the littlest bookworms, this colorful and exuberant look at some deserving female trailblazers is a wonderful way to introduce the power of women to younger and pre-readers. The selection of featured figures is well-balanced, representing a varied range of skintones, religions and backgrounds, though most of the ladies are American. Desierto’s art is simple and friendly, using elements of mixed media cutouts for hair, clothes, and surroundings to frame the warm, open faces of the subjects. It makes each woman feel like a new friend, and works perfectly. JJ adored this one, especially the mirror on the final page, and it was a fairly quick read as well. A must for any young feminist’s bookshelf, and emphatically Baby Bookworm approved!

(Note: A copy of this book was provided to The Baby Bookworm by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

I Am A Warrior Goddess (Jennifer Adams)

Hello, friends! Our book today is I Am A Warrior Goddess, written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Carme Lemniscates, a collection of girl-power affirmations for little readers.

“I am a warrior goddess,” proclaims the young unnamed protagonist, red hair swirling in the breeze. She shares tidbits of what that means with the reader: each day she greets the sun, the earth, and the wind. She prepares her mind and body for “battle” by keeping fit and reading books, respectively. She exhibits kindness, the most powerful weapon of all. She leads the strong, and protects the weak. She is fierce yet grateful, and always proud to be herself. At the end of her day, she thanks the sun, the earth, and the air once more, then tucks into bed – even warrior goddesses need their sleep.

Apparently this book is based off an adult New Age self-improvement book called Warrior Goddess Training – I’ve never read the book, so I can’t speak to this connection. As a stand-alone, however, this is a perfectly nice set of female-empowerment spreads; not particularly ground-breaking, perhaps, but always good reminders nonetheless. A focus on fostering qualities like kindness and gratitude – and how doing so makes a girl no less strong or powerful – is wonderful to see, as is an encouragement toward leadership and intelligence. The illustrations are pleasant and brightly-colored enough to hold a young reader’s attention. And the length is fine – in fact, this may work best for younger bookworms as an introduction to girl-power themes. JJ enjoyed it, and this was a cute and encouraging read overall. Baby Bookworm approved!

The Pink Hat (Andrew Joyner)

Hello, friends! Our book today is The Pink Hat by Andrew Joyner, a look at the many lives of a very special accessory.

An older woman takes some bright pink yarn and knits a hat. It’s warm, cozy, and the woman uses it for several things. But as she is napping one day, her cat nabs the hat, wresting and pouncing with it until – oops! – it falls out a window into a tree. Three young children spot it and attempt to get it down, leading to further adventures in the hat’s life. It becomes a snuggly wrap for a baby and a toy for a dog before being retrieved by the dog’s owner, a little girl. With the girl, the hat is cleaned, dried, and well-loved, worn and used as a bag, a baseball mitt, a pillow, even a swim cap. Then one very special day, the little girl dons her beloved hat to join a march – one that stands for the rights of girls and women everywhere – with millions of pink hats just like hers.

Very cute. Following the pink hat through its adventures, especially when it becomes property of the little girl, is a charming journey with text that has a lovely repeating rhythm and is fun to read aloud. I was expecting for there to be a bit more on the feminist themes of the Women’s March itself, but it wasn’t that kind of story, though not to its detriment – the story serves as more of a window into a moment of history (I should mention there is no reference to the hat’s more colorful nickname, nor the inspiration for that name, as one would expect in a picture book). The black and white illustrations with pops of pink are lovely, beautifully detailed and very diverse. This is a sweet storybook that can introduce young readers to an important moment in history, and we really liked it. Baby Bookworm approved!