FICTION

Away with Words: The Daring Story of Isabella Bird

illus. by Kristy Caldwell. 36p. bibliog. chron. notes. photos. Peachtree. Mar. 2019. Tr $17.95. ISBN 9781682630051.
COPY ISBN
Gr 2–5—This picture book biography of Isabella Bird describes her as "a wild vine stuck in a too-small pot," a fitting description for an inquisitive young woman who lived during the Victorian era. The text discusses Bird's health problems as a small child and how curiosity about the world she saw from the back of her father's horse helped her to "forget about her aches and pains." Her eventual journeys around the world led to fame for her travel books and even membership as the first woman in London's Royal Geographic Society. Digital illustrations show details of the era's fashions, as well as scenes from Bird's adventures, like climbing up Kilauea. A photo of Bird accompanies the author's note. There is also a time line, bibliography, and a source list for all the quotations from Bird's writing that are incorporated into the book. This title would be a good addition to a unit on groundbreaking women, or for a discussion of societal expectations then and now.
VERDICT An engaging biography for intermediate grades.

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