Make More Noise!
The most refreshing thing about this lively book of short stories for girls – written to commemorate the one hundredth anniversary of women getting the vote in the UK – is how vastly varied the characters in it are. From latter-day ‘posh girl’ suffragettes to present-day girls who love insects and then on to future dystopian heroines battling climate change, no one is excluded from between the covers of this rebellious collection, the front of which is aptly illustrated with a big megaphone.
Some of the stories are true page-turners – like ‘The Otter Path’ by Emma Carroll, a wonderfully empathetic tale of life on a farm blended with a not-so-nice bully – while others are more challenging. ‘The Green-Hearted Girl’, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (winner of the 2017 Waterstones Children’s Book Prize), is a finely crafted fairy tale with timely warnings for us all about global warming. Another prize-winning story (Boase, 2017) is ‘Bug Hunters’ by M.G. Leonard, highly original and thus surely worthy of that Canadian accolade. In ‘Out for the Count’ by Sally Nicholls, a story based on a true event in Yorkshire in 1911, a rich girl and her family (i.e. her mum, her cook and her governess) engage in the then outrageous act of camping out for the night. This was in protest for not getting the vote – and not the most comfortable either, with heather sacking being used instead of sleeping bags. Interestingly, the environment figures strongly throughout. It’s a pity there were no author biographies – even very short ones would have helped – but it’s a small quibble in this excellently bound and produced book that, so importantly, celebrates our girls in all their glorious complexities.