Hooray for Women!
“This book could’ve easily run twice as many pages in length. It is a Famous Person reporter’s dream and should be in every classroom.”
Hooray for Women! is laid out like a comic strip or graphic novel in order to pack it full of information about familiar and not-so-familiar women in history and current times. The first featured woman is Cleopatra (BCE 69–30) with a two=page spread, using 14 scenes to tell her story. Besides that, the borders are filled with talking birds with more information and a couple of kids and a dog making comments at the bottom of the pages. Although wordy for the picture book format, Williams manages to impart a lot of knowledge in a clever way.
The second woman in chronological order of birth is Boudicca, Warrior Queen of the Iceni (C. 25–61 CE). With 11 scenes in a double-page spread, the reader is introduced to a less familiar woman in history. Then a huge jump of centuries to 1412 with Joan of Arc comes up next, then Elizabeth I, Mary Wollstonecraft, and Jane Austen.
Florence Nightingale appears next, with Marie Curie, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Amelia Earhart to follow. The birds in the borders continue to add information, and the children and their dog at the bottom talk in speech bubbles with questions and comments.
Frida Kahlo, Anne Frank, and Wangari Maathai come next. Then Mae C. Jemison, Cathy Freeman, and Malala Yousafzai finish off the featured women. But the book continues with super-packed double paged spreads about women who are Leaders and World Changers (each getting one scene in the comic strip format), Athletes and Creatives, then Scientists, Pioneers, and Adventurers. Besides the 16 featured women, Williams manages to pack in 59 more in the final pages. If that weren’t enough she has two birds flying on the last pages, one with a banner listing more women she couldn’t fit into the book, plus a blank banner for the reader to think of others to add.
The lavender back end papers are the index. The front end papers are birds, each one flying a banner with one of these words on them: scientists, siblings, actors, artists, authors, freedom fighters, etc.
All backgrounds are white, which is good with so much going on. The art is simple and effective in showing the different time periods in which these women lived.
This book could’ve easily run twice as many pages in length. It is a Famous Person reporter’s dream and should be in every classroom. So many of the famous women have been done to death in school reports, while many others have been overlooked. These are women from all over the world, a fresh take on what is usually limited in picture books to American women.
An author’s note at the end explains that Williams didn’t have room for everyone, so she did her favorites first.
The book gets an A. The only thing missing was a glossary for more difficult words or abbreviations, such as suffragette, archaeologist, BCE, and CE.