Written by: Lori Degman
Illustrated by: Mara Penny
For ages: 4-8 years
Topics Covered: Feminism, Historical Figures, Art, Architecture, Sports, Neurodiversity, Authors, Activism.
This book is a call to action for girls to use their skills and passions to change the world! The setup itself is streamlined, with few words on each page. The badass women throughout history aren’t named on the pages, instead opting for a short biography of each one on the back. I actually really like this, especially since it’s designed for younger readers. I think this tactic does two things: it becomes less overwhelming for readers or listeners on the younger side to feel like they have to remember every name, and it can also create a quiz game for older readers to try and name each woman featured.
The text takes a once-insulting phrase and turns it on its head, look at how much women and girls have accomplished! I also like how the book uses the same concept like “create” and uses it in two ways-to celebrate painter Frida Kahlo and architect Zaha Hadid to show both sides of the coin, giving much flexibility for anyone’s dreams. With lots of different women profiled, the well-known (Ruby Bridges and Malala Yousafzai) and potentially lesser-known (Irena Sendler and Babe Didrickson Zaharias) are combined.
The reason I like these sorts of books is the opportunity for continuing conversations and extension activities surrounding the small tastes of these women’s achievements that the book gives the reader. I would have loved to see Indigenous women profiled in the book, but the book does cover some women outside of the United States, so it’s not entirely American-Centric. The illustrations are beautiful, and I love the way that Mara Penny conveys movement in swirls and even adds wings to Wilma Rudolph’s feet! Like A Girl ends with speaking directly to the reader, encouraging them to dream big and learn as much as they can. It’s a wonderful introduction to trailblazing ladies, great for a beginner primer on historical figures, and includes an additional reading list after the short bios.
Lori Degman grew up in a suburb north of Chicago with her mom, brother and sisters, Rick, Mindy and her twin, Julie. Lori attended MacMurray College, where she earned a Bachelors Degree in Deaf Education. Later, Lori earned a master’s degree in early childhood education from National-Louis University.
Mara Penny grew up in Lake Tahoe. From her website: “I love color. I love pattern. I love texture. I love line. I studied both interior design and jewelry design in college. I earned my BFA at CCA(C). I am a mother. I am a wife. I am a sister. I am an aunt. I am inspired by fairy tales. The night sky. And sparkles. I like to draw. I like to paint. I like to sew. I like to read. I do not like to cook. My husband is my best friend. I am happy.”