Brazen: Rebel ladies who rocked the world. Penelope Bagieu. Translated by Montana Kane

3 stars for this collection of female biographies.

I thought this book sounded perfect: biographies of amazing women, presented in comic-strip form, for children. The 29 women (plus a short autobiography of Bagieu herself) are a fairly diverse bunch, many of whom I had not heard of previously or knew very little about. The mix includes an astronaut, a bearded lady, a Liberian activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner, a warrior and shaman, a journalist, and actresses Hedy Lamarr and Margaret Hamilton. I was a little curious about the inclusion of rock group The Shaggs since in Bagieu’s account the story seems to be more about the father than the sisters themselves. Unfortunately, the writer does not give any sources or references for children interested in finding out more and the biographies are brief. The discussion of the women’s sexuality and issues some of them faced – rape, domestic violence – means that the book is in my opinion not suitable for young children. While I found the writing style to be at times a touch laboured and the comic-strip illustrations were not always terribly appealing, some of the larger-scale colourful illustrations separating the biographies were simply gorgeous – for example, on pages 186-187.

I received this ebook free from NetGalley in return for an honest review. UK publication by First Second on 6 March 2018.

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