Friday, April 13, 2018

Gloria's Voice by Aura Lewis

Gloria's Voice by Aura Lewis is the story of Gloria Steinem: "Feminist, Activist, Leader," as the subtitle says. I read one of Gloria Steinem's many books, last year, for my feminist reading project and never got around to writing a post about it, but I was fascinated by Gloria and thrilled to see that someone has written a children's book about her.

Here, little ones can get an introduction to her life. Beginning with childhood, the book talks about her wishes and dreams, how she wanted to be famous and help others, and how she was sidelined by her need to take care of her mother when her parents separated and her mother's mental illness meant Gloria had to act as the adult. It then moves on to her trip to India, followed by her decision to become a journalist and the frustration about having to write about things she didn't consider serious, how she came to realize that women everywhere just wanted to be heard, and the creation of Ms. magazine.

Gloria's Voice is for ages 4 and up, so it's told in very simple terms with gorgeous illustrations that have "flower power" coloring similar to the stage prop in the Sixties show Laugh-In (we've recently started occasionally watching an old Laugh-In episode, now and then, or I might not have recogized the similar coloring). But, there's a  more in-depth one-page bio at the end of the book, followed by a page of references for further reading and page-by-page notes on the details of each spread. So, even after one has grown past the picture book phase, there's a lot more learning material and ideas to read further for young feminists.

Highly recommended - One of the things I love about Gloria's Voice is that there are almost no men illustrated in the pages of this book. It's about a woman trying to bring attention to women's voices and that's reflected in the illustrations, which are gorgeous, by the way. The exception is a single man standing in a line to get a copy of Ms. magazine. The page-by-page notes at the end of the book explain that the image is of Gloria's husband, to whom she was married for three years (till his death). Those details and their explanations take the book from a picture book about a feminist leader to an educational book that can long be used as a reference or a starting point to learning more. I love that.

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  1. Do you think its target audience would like it? I think, as a kid, I would have found it dull.

    1. Yes, absolutely. In fact, I probably should have added an excerpt to show how it's written -- I'll try to go back and do that, some time before my Monday Malarkey. It's nicely geared to its audience and the bits at the back are also written for a slightly older crowd so that it can grow with a reader and explain more about things that were glossed over at the beginning to make it palatable for younger children. You wouldn't have found it dull. It's well done.


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