Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World (Vashti Harrison)
Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World, is a book about 37 (plus 18) women and their contributions to art, science, and math. Some are no longer on this earth, some are still alive. More than half of them are from outside the USA, with only 17 of them having lived in the US, many of them immigrants. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is the prequel to this book.
Of the 37 main women, 20 are accomplished in the field of arts, seven in the sciences, five in the math, three as writers, two philanthropists, two inventors, and one entrepreneur. Some of the women qualify for more than one category. They lived between the ninth century to today and are listed in the order of their birth year. One of the bonus women in the back was born in 370 CE in Egypt.
Some of the more familiar women are Frida Kahlo, Marie Curie, and Hedy Lamarr. Some of the ones that should be familiar are Maya Lin of Viet Nam memorial fame; Edith Head of Hollywood costumer fame; and Flossie Wong-Staal, on the team that identified the HIV virus as the cause of AIDS.
Vashti Harrison also illustrated the book, much in the vein of the It’s a Small World characters of Disneyland fame, also designed by Mary Blair, one of the women covered in the book. All of the women are shown with eyes closed or looking down. Each entry for the 37 women receives one page of written information (four or five paragraphs) and one full page of art. The extra 18 women each get half a page of art and story.
The book is a treasure trove of information with a two-page introduction, a three-page glossary, one page of sources, two pages of further reading (websites, books, movies, and songs), and two pages of acknowledgments.
The book has so much information in it, it took three readings to get through it all. It’s the kind of book every history teacher and third grade and up instructor needs to have at the ready for girls and boys to access for reports or enjoyment.
Every publisher for young readers seems to be coming out with a book about strong women. To date, Little Brown has put out the thickest one with the most women covered. It isn’t as in-depth as some of the others, but its wide breadth makes up for what it lacks in depth. At 96 pages, it’s a celebration of information about women and previously ignored female heroes.