How’s this for someone who doesn’t blog for two months? Nothing for ages then three in twenty-four hours! I always was good at rising to occasions, last-minute cramming, skidding into deadlines with mere seconds to go. And obviously a bit less good at sustaining the momentum. Ho hum.. the world’s beautiful because it’s vario, right? And different is good, they always say.
So, I’m packing all my favourite girl-empowering books into my 24-hour mark of respect for International Women’s Day. Next one up is another stunner from Sinnos.
Winner of the 2014 Italian ANDERSEN prize for the Best Children’s Graphic Novel, Cattive Ragazze (Bad Girls) presents 15 outstanding biographies of 15 equally outstanding writers, voyagers, scientists, activists, philosophers, singers, painters and cyclists. All brave, independent women who refused to bend to society’s idea and expectations of them. All women, some more famous than others, who made their mark on history through the years.
Hedy Lamarr was a very rich, very pretty movie star and also an inventor who won the BULBIE, known as the “Oscar” of inventing. Nellie Bly was the first women journalist to go under cover. Antonia Masanello was the only women to fight in Garibaldi’s Mille. These three “bad girls” keep very good company in this quirky but cool graphic novel: Olympe De Gouges – Elvira Coda Notari – Nawal El Saadawi – Marie Curie – Aleksandra Kollontaj – Alfonsina Morini Strada – Angela Davis – Claude Cahun – Domitila Barrios De Chungara – Franca Viola – Miriam Makeba – Onorina Brambilla.
I particularly liked Alfonsina Morini Strada. There wasn’t much money (or food) in their household so she definitely never had many toys to play with. One day her dad brought an old bicycle back from the market. It was love at first sight for Alfonsina and she started cycling everywhere, taking part in competitions and even winning a gold medal presented by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. Her parents try to marry her off to stop all the cycling nonsense, but little do they know, husband actually wants to help make her dream of cycling in the Giro D’Italia come true. Which it does of course. Because she was a bad girl. And bad girls often do some really cool stuff.
From the introduction by Cecilia D’Elia:
“These are stories of freedom. I don’t expect any of these women ever thought of themselves as special. But they were all very determined. And by living their lives the way they wanted to, they brought new opportunities and smashed age-old barriers.”