CM . . .
. Volume XV Number 20 . . . . May 29, 2009
Thirty-four trail-blazing Canadian women are showcased in this celebration of courage, perseverance and determination. The book, newly revised and expanded, is divided into five main sections- sports, pioneers, the arts, science, and mavericks, the latter described as “girls who rocked to the beat of their own drums.” Representative of all parts of the country and various walks of life and age groups, the featured women have all overcome obstacles- some physical and others more emotional in nature, such as racial and gender discrimination- to achieve their dreams. Though some names, such as Emily Carr and Emily Stowe, will be familiar to readers, most of them are not well known at all, but their stories will draw readers in. Women in sports include Cassie Campbell, the first female colour commentator for an NHL game on television, skier Nancy Greene and swimmer Marilyn Bell. Why ballerina Evelyn Hart is featured in this chapter, and not in the one devoted to the arts, is questionable. Métis historian Victoria Belcourt Callihoo and Inuit guide and translator Tookoolito are among those listed in the section on pioneers. Other prominent Canadian women highlighted in the book are singer Avril Lavigne (a questionable choice), violinist Kathleen Parlow, physician and scientist Maude Abbott, environmental activist Elizabeth May and gold prospector Viola Huggard MacMillan. Though there is a little bit about each person’s background, most of the text is restricted to the circumstances and events behind their achievements and the obstacles that had to be overcome as the women followed their passion.
Each chapter includes a “Fast Fact” box, a “Girls Around the World” box highlighting another young woman in a related field, and a “How Will You Rock the World?” box which features young girls talking briefly about their aspirations. These boxes, with their deep purple backgrounds, provide the only bit of colour in the entire book. Illustrations consist of black and white photographs, many of them quite grainy, and pen and ink drawings.
Gail Hamilton is a teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, MB.
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