This book is hot off our processing shelves, and it makes me so happy to feature it as the last new juvenile nonfic book celebrating Women’s History Month because I named one of my cats after the fearless traveler profiled within! Like my Birdy, a spirited girl who was found in a parking lot by herself as a kitten, with a leg that had been broken but had healed by itself (told you she was fierce), Isabella Bird was a force to be reckoned with, striking out on her own to see the world at a time when women were expected to remain at home. She was beset by physical ailments as a child and during times of inactivity in adulthood, and one has to wonder if depression didn’t manifest itself in her aches and pains because as soon as she was on the move again and being stimulated by her experiences, she felt so much better. Bird circled the globe throughout the last half of the 1800s – visiting places such as Australia, Japan, Egypt, India, Tibet, Turkey, Canada, and the Rocky Mountains (which, because I am a longtime fan of that beautiful region, is what drew my attention to her) – a marvelous accomplishment for a woman at the time. Her books about her adventures were bestsellers (many of which can be read for free online now!), also a noteworthy achievement for a woman then. She took great personal joy in the sights and sounds and tastes and smells she encountered in her journeys, but she also helped people she met along the way, serving as a nurse and founding orphanages and missionary hospitals in Asia. Lori Mortensen’s text is accessible but still so potent as to convey the excitement and wonder Bird must have felt in her travels. Bird really was a gifted author in her own right (I loved her book A Lady’s Life in the Rocky Mountains and plan to read it again) and Mortensen effectively incorporates some of her delightful writing. Combined with illustrator Kristy Caldwell’s graphic novel-style artwork, this nonfiction selection rather resembles a captivating piece of adventure fiction. Put this book and a map of the globe in the hands of a young Isabella Bird in your life and encourage her to start creating her own itinerary!
Published by grandgirl71
I've worked as a youth librarian at the Fayetteville Public Library in Fayetteville, Arkansas, for 13 years. I have been the selector for our juvenile nonfiction collection since I started and really enjoy talking to teachers and other librarians about the best in new juvenile nonfic. Things have gotten even more fun as I have taken on our library's juvenile fiction collection, as well! I also lead a preschool story time, write and direct plays for a small tween acting troupe called PlayAct, coordinate two literacy support programs with therapy dogs and shelter cats, lead a book discussion at an assisted living facility, coordinate after-school workshops, and write puppet shows and skits that my coworkers and I perform. In my previous life, I was an eighth grade language arts teacher. I still get to share my love of words with kids, but I don't have to deal with standardized testing. HUZZAH! View all posts by grandgirl71