Monday, February 16, 2015

Books To Celebrate Young Women

These books are both for the teen/ YA market, wholly different but both inspired by a need to honour and value young women in the world. Both are interesting and worthwhile reads.

Moon at Nine by Deborah Ellis

Many years ago I read Deborah Ellis' Parvana books. They are great books about the journey of families and young women in the middle east. At the time I was so pleased that someone was telling these stories in a way young people could access and relate to them.  In Moon at Nine she has stayed true to this theme. Following the world of Sadira and Farrin (from Farrin's perspective), 2 bright and promising young women in Iran, she explores what is means to be a young, clever and gay woman in this world. As their love unfolds so does the realisation of what it might mean in a country that still executes people for being gay. (There are other countries that do this too). Based on a true story this book is neither explicit nor terrifying although she does not shy away from the realities of execution. Ellis' writing is fluent and gentle and the characters are well drawn. It is a love story but not in a gushy or romantic 'novel for teens' kind of way - it's about love that makes you live well and love that drives you to put another before yourself. Well written and informative I think this book is a timely book for a world where intelligent women are still shut down for being who they are in too many places.

I honour Ellis for using her talents to make a difference for people in the world and for tackling difficult topics with grace and realness.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2015 RRP $16.99 also available as an ebook

Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean ed Kirsty Murray, Payal Shar and Anita Ray.

Another book that responds to honour young women is Eat the Sky, Drink the Ocean (don't you love the title?) a collaboration across the world edited by Kirsty Murray, Payal Shar and Anita Ray. In response to attacks on young women in Australia and India writers and illustrators have put together this collection of short stories (word and graphics). As with any short story collection there are ones I liked more than others. Some I felt were interesting and particularly strong and other stories felt like the writer was still on a journey to find their voice. I feel like this book would be a particularly good addition to a school library because it has short readable stories that have females as the protagonists. Most of the stories are set in the future some with a bleaker outlook than others. All cast young women in honoured and important roles. I would recommend this for any avid reader from about 10-14ish. I also love that there are commentaries in the back from each author or illustrator talking about how the collaborative process worked for them. In this regard I think it is also an interesting resource for any young aspiring writer.

Details - Allen and Unwin, Jan 2015 RRP$16.99 also available as an ebook

Thanks to Allen and Unwin for the wonderful review reads they continue to provide me.

love you more than an afternoon of being bookish xxx