Book Review: Milly-Molly-Mandy

About ten years ago I was browsing in a bookshop and I came across a book I had long since forgotten about. I couldn’t resist opening it up to see if this modern publication was the same as the book that I remembered from my childhood. The book was Milly-Molly-Mandy by Joyce Lankester Brisley. The dust cover may have been brightly coloured, but the inside was so familiar, with its beautifully illustrated images and the village map inside the front and back covers. Memories of my mother reading the short stories to me at bedtime brought a smile to face and made me wish to do the same for my...

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Girlhood heroine: Anne of Green Gables

If I had to answer the question “Who is your girlhood heroine?” I would definitely say Anne of Green Gables! A large part of my childhood, and – I should confess! – part of my adolescence, were affected by this fictional character. The anime version of Anne of Green Gables was adapted from the popular children’s book written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, who lived during the early 20th century. Both depict the life of Anne, a young orphan. She was sent to a pair of siblings in their 50s, Marilla and Matthew, instead of the boy the couple asked for, as they wanted help on the farm. Though they...

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Review: Nancy Drew

Back in my school days when we couldn’t order books off the Internet, one way for young students to have access to reading materials outside of the general bookstore or school library in New Zealand was the monthly catalogue Scholastic. Here is where I picked up my childhood passion of detective work, from the world of Nancy Drew, versions from both the books and the Her Interactive games. This had not one, but many female leads — Nancy, Beth and George. Nancy Drew herself, on the surface, lives a perfect life. She has the car, the perfect boyfriend and is reasonably well off. She’s polite...

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Girlhood Heroine: Mary Hooper

Ever since I can remember, I’ve spent countless hours in the library. Reading has always been one of my biggest passions. My girlhood was defined by reading and the countless worlds I could enter, by reading a book. As a lover of history, historical fiction has always been my favourite genre. Here’s where Mary Hooper entered my life and became one of my heroines. Hooper is an author of over seventy books for children and young adults. My favourite books include The Remarkable Life and Times of Eliza Rose and At The Sign of the Sugared Plum. She opened my eyes to the historical...

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Book Review: Crazy is my Superpower

Not everyone is lucky enough to have a happy childhood. Some children are forced to grow up far too quickly; AJ Mendez Brooks was one of those children. Her autobiography, Crazy is my Superpower, tells this story. She grew up with young parents who found it difficult to hold down a job. As a result she and her three siblings were often left to fend for themselves. After moving from apartment to apartment the family found themselves homeless. They lived in their car for a while before moving into a motel in New Jersey. Throughout this challenging time AJ found comfort in comic books, video...

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A Reading List for Women’s History Month

If my work as a middle school librarian has taught me one thing, it’s that one of the best ways to inspire people is to tell them a good story. For this Women’s History Month, I’ve curated a list of books that do just that ‚Äì tell a beautiful story, and in the process change or contribute to our understanding of girlhood. Below you’ll find a wide array of books ‚Äì historical fiction, non-fiction, comics, tales of adventure ‚Äì which bring together gender identity, culture, and race to tell a story about modern girlhood, and what it means to be a woman today. Grades...

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Celebrating Black History Month throughout the year

Though on the surface it seems strange to come out with a reading list for Black History Month after the fact, one of the most important things we can do to support and advocate for people of color around the world is to keep reading and sharing their stories long after their designated ‚Äúmonth‚Äù is over. True equality, after all, comes when we read and listen and pay attention to all people in equal measure, and that means extending your reading list past the month of February and making it a point to read authors of color all year. Without any further ado, I’ll share a curated list...

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Review: Caroline Lawrence’s The Roman Mysteries

Last year I became a graduate with a degree in Ancient History and History. I loved it, and the main reason I decided to study the degree was because it included the ancient world. However, I was not exposed to the world of Classics or Ancient History whilst I was at school. So why would I become so interested in the subject? The answer to this question is the work of Caroline Lawrence and her Roman Mysteries. I’m not a bookworm, but Lawrence’s books appealed to my love of solving mysteries and history. The series consist of seventeen books that follow the life and adventures of Flavia...

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Girls Undercover: Violet Strange

Name: Violet Strange Occupation: Girl detective and debutante Location: New York City, 1899 As seen in: The Golden Slipper and Other Problems for Violet Strange, by Anna Katharine Green Violet Strange is a character, created by Anna Katharine Green for her mystery short stories, The Golden Slipper and other Problems for Violet Strange, published in 1914. Strange is an astute young woman – only 17 years old – and the daughter of a rich banker. She takes up solving crimes in secret. Though the stories she appears in are old-fashioned and a bit stilted, Violet Strange is credited with being...

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Ginny Weasley Is Not Impressed

Sarah Gailey wrote an amazing essay about Ginny Weasley (of Harry Potter fame) at Tor.com. Often considered a more minor character, Sarah looks into how truly awesome Ginny really is, and why she. Is. Not. Impressed. As I’m doing another Harry Potter re-read of my own, it’s nice to find new interpretations of characters I already know well, or – the case of Sarah’s review of Ginny – find an interpretation that I heartily agree with. Six brothers. That’s how many brothers it takes to make a Ginny Weasley. That’s how much familial finally-a-daughter pressure is...

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