Fearless World Traveler: Adventures of Marianne North

Holiday House. May 2021. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9780823439591.
Gr 2-4–This is a splendid account of Marianne North, who was born in England in 1830. Options for women in that time period were negligible. Her interests were music, drawing, painting, and exploring the natural world. Going to soirees and preparing herself for running a household bored her to tears. After her mother died, North did end up running her father’s household as a dutiful daughter would but continued her study of botany and recorded specimens in her paintings. It was when her father died that she was finally able to do what it was she wanted, trekking all over the world and recording botanical and wildlife examples. North’s paintings and her contribution to the botanical and natural sciences of the time were extraordinary (her paintings are the only images left of some extinct animals and plants), as was her determination to pursue goals that most women at the time could not. The illustrations are beautifully done, with attention and care carrying the spirit of North’s paintings throughout. Back matter is included. This book would pair well with Barbara Cooney’s Eleanor, covering another independent and courageous woman who gave back to the world.
VERDICT A must for all libraries. This is an impeccably attuned biography of a woman who broke the rules to the benefit of all.

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