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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Remarkable Women in Verse by Julia Stebbing is a children's educational guide to three of history's most influential women. Stebbing takes the standard fare of informative literature a step further by describing her subjects in the form of original poetry. The historical backgrounds of Rosa Parks, Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan, and Florence Nightingale come to the forefront in rhythmic verses, with several stanzas working together to make whole the stages of their lives. In its entirety, each of these women is realized through Stebbing's narrative poetry format and an annexed glossary to assist young readers in understanding more complicated and lengthier words as they learn, whereas sketches and power words segue into the poems at the beginning.
When I initially picked up Remarkable Women in Verse, I honestly did not believe any true justice could be done to the women's lives in such a compact book. This concern was alleviated when I saw that Julia Stebbing limited a large number of subjects to have more space to flesh out the four being covered. This makes the experience positive in many ways, but primarily in that it does not look like an overwhelming almanac that my children would shy away from just based on size. Children are fickle little souls and perception is pretty much everything. As for the writing itself, the poems are simply composed but contain an exceptional amount of detail. Giving children the ability to see these women from their early upbringings reveals the potential that rests in all children, clarifying that change has historically been achieved by individuals with backgrounds that reflect one akin to their own, championing the women who have paved a path and encouraging others to continue with the hard work. Very highly recommended.