BooksforTopics Reading for Pleasure Recommendations
Book Title: Fierce, Fearless and Free (available here)
Author: Lari Don
Illustrator: Eilidh Muldoon
Publication Date: March 2020
Most suitable for: KS2
“Tales have been told, for many years, in many places, about girls who are the stars of their own stories, rather than sidekicks or prizes…Girls have starred in stories for as long as stories have been told.” Lari Don.
Fierce, Fearless and Free is a short story collection containing traditional tales that originate from all over the world, with the star of each story being a female lead who makes her own destiny. Author Lari Don has curated a collection of stories that traditionally give centre stage to female characters who are capable, strong, brave and smart. This is not a collection about rewriting stories with heroes as heroines, or taking traditional stories about male warriors and replacing the main character with a female one. The anthology simply showcases genuine traditional tales about girls who are the stars of their own stories.
One story from Armenia tells of Kendak, who outwits a (female) werewolf and escapes the cooking pot. Another, from the Solomon Islands, tells of a boat full of warrior women and a heroine called Riina who defeats a cannibal threat. My own best-enjoyed was the powerful story of the Sumerian goddess Inanna, who subdues a forbiddable volcanic mountain by wrestling it to the ground. All of the stories end with a forward-looking note – drawing out the influence, community impact or future potential of their protagonists rather than ‘happily ever after’ being the end goal.
The back of the book provides background notes about the provenance of the stories and Bloomsbury has also made available additional materials on their website including a country of origin map for classroom use or library display.
Many thanks to the publishers at Bloomsbury for sending us a review copy.
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