Synopsis (From Good Reads):Why should girls miss out on the joy of adventure? They can jump off rocks, swing on ropes, and climb trees just as well as boys can. But girls often allow fear to stand in their way.
In The Gutsy Girl, author Caroline Paul emboldens girls to seek out a life of exhilaration. Once a young scaredy-cat herself, Caroline decided that fear got in the way of the life she wanted--of excitement, confidence, self-reliance, friendship, and fun. She has since flown planes, rafted big rivers, climbed tall mountains, and fought fires as one of the first female firefighters in San Francisco. In The Gutsy Girl, she shares her greatest escapades as well as those of other girls and women from throughout history, and offers engaging activities such as confidence-building stances, creating a compass, positive self-talk, and using crickets to estimate outside temperatures. Each section includes a place for girls to “journal” their adventures, thus encouraging a new generation to develop a zest for challenges and a healthy relationship to risk. The Gutsy Girl is Lean In for young girls, a book about the glorious things that happen when you unshackle from fear and open up to exhilaration. Fully illustrated and enlivened throughout by bestselling illustrator Wendy MacNaughton's whimsical pen-and-ink drawings.
I was very happy when the publisher, Bloomsbury, contacted me to obtain a copy of the book for review. Since my blog is only about a year old, I was very flattered. The Gutsy Girl, is a non-fiction book written for middle grade girls by author Caroline Paul. The illustrations, by Wendy MacNaughton, are a hugely important feature of the book. They are creative and captivating, setting the tone for this inspirational book.
The adventures that the author chronicles in this book are amazing (as in, "I am amazed that Caroline Paul is alive to recount this!"). This person is a serious adrenaline junkie. She climbs mountains, does hang-gliding, and was a San Francisco fire fighter! It seems as though she is invincible. But as I read this, I came to understand that the author is very human.
She has loads of practical advice on planning adventures, goal setting, and risk-taking. With chapters such as, "Aim High! But, Sometimes, Not Too High", Caroline shows the very real obstacles she faces. There are many mistakes, missteps, and mishaps on her journey to continue to be a gusty person. Many times her adventures go horribly wrong, but she still values these experiences for what they taught her.
As a parent, I did cringe when she described doing some highly illegal exploring of the Golden Gate Bridge. Although she did insert many disclaimers, I do wonder if some young readers will try to do similarly dangerous stunts.
But that is a small criticism. I would definitely give this book to girls aged 9 and up. I think the illustrations are engaging, and the stories show a life of adventure is possible for anyone.
Release Date: March 1st, 2016
Format: Hardcover book
Recommendation: For girls aged 9 and up. A fun and inspiring book!