Saturday Spotlight: Work it, Girl! Series
Today’s spotlight is on a new series which aims to inspire future girl #bosses. Each book features an empowering biography of an uber successful modern-day working woman. The first two in the series were released in March 2019: J. K. Rowling and Oprah Winfrey – it doesn’t get much more inspiring than that! At the end of the book there are ten key life lessons the women have learnt that young readers can apply to their own life.
Author: Caroline Moss
Illustrator: Sinem Erkas
Publisher: Frances Lincoln Children’s Books, Quarto
My view of the series:
I wish this series had been around when I was young and actually, I still found them inspiring to read even as an adult. However, they are ultimately books to inspire the next generation of leaders and I have no doubt that they will.
What I love about this series is that while the books aren’t too long, you still feel like you’ve got the full picture of the woman’s life. Each chapter is only a couple of pages and the ratio of text-pages to illustration-pages is 50:50.
What’s more, I love that the illustrations don’t just depict what the words told you but ADD to the story and move it on. The inspirational quotes from the women themselves are a brilliant touch and cleverly illustrated by Sinem.
Caroline has a distinctive and engaging voice that runs throughout the books, sometimes speaking directly to the young readers, which instantly makes these inspiring life-stories feel more accessible and, most importantly, relatable to young readers.
This is a series that can be enjoyed by many ages – young children can see the story and message through illustrations, older children can read text and adult fans can learn about a woman they love. These women are role models to everyone and these books are for all too. Caroline and Sinem have thought about every little detail in these books, right down to the ten chapter titles and how they are presented on the page. It has resulted in a unique series that deserves to sit on everyone’s bookshelf.
So, here’s what I thought of the two books in the series published so far…
Title: J. K. Rowling, Boss the bestseller list like
This book gives an insight into Joanne’s childhood, including the disappointment of not getting into Oxford, becoming a single parent living on benefits, right through to the more well-known years of her life (publisher rejections and then ultimately selling millions of copies of Harry Potter).
There is a great balance between storytelling, publishing stats and illustrations. Very early on, Caroline establishes a few writing concepts using clear and easy to understand sentences. But this is not just a book for young aspiring writers. As Caroline says, “Maybe you’re a writer or you know a writer” – this book inspires writers and non-writers because it’s about picking yourself up from a low point and channelling that disappointment to create a bright future.
The importance of family and the impact of Joanne’s mother’s illness is threaded through the ten chapters of this book. Family is a clear driver for Joanne to follow her dreams to be a writer; it’s heart-breaking she didn’t get a chance to tell her mother about Harry Potter. It’s inspiring that after her fame, Joanne gave back by building a Neurology Clinic. The second theme that runs through this biography is the role of rejection and, as one chapter title explains, Joanne doesn’t see “F for failure” but “F for future”. There is a strong message throughout that we can use our mistakes and rejections to help us grow and achieve our goals – such a brilliant takeaway for any reader.
Publication date: 7 March 2019
ISBN: 978 1786037381
Title: Oprah Winfrey, Run the show like CEO
Caroline begins this biography using very simple language to explain both poverty and racism at the time Oprah was a child, when she was once known as “sack girl”. Its simple honesty doesn’t overwhelm but gets the message across in a way that children today will understand.
The first three chapters deal with Oprah’s childhood in which she went from living with her lovely grandmother to being shipped between her mother and father until eventually as a teenager going to live with her father permanently. It is quite saddening to hear of her childhood troubles but also amazing to see all that she becomes: she knew from the age of four she wanted to grow up and be paid to talk.
Moving on through Oprah’s first few jobs, you get an insight into the world of TV and there is a great illustration of Oprah drawn out of an old video cassette film. The final chapters discuss not just Oprah’s success but how once she was successful, she used her fame to give back.
There are so many wonderful, inspiring lines written into the biography here are my three top picks:
“Oprah decided it was okay to do things out of the expected order sometimes.”
“Challenges are gifts that force us to search for a new centre of gravity – Oprah”
“Her mistakes only made her audience love her more.”
This is a fascinating read and I will never look at “the number of trees in a back garden” the same way again. (Read the book, you’ll understand!).
Publication date: 7 March 2019
ISBN: 978 1786037350
There’s also plenty to look forward to in this series, with a further two titles announced for 2020:
I can’t WAIT to read them!!
Author and Illustrator Bio via Quarto Kids:
Caroline Moss is an author based in Brooklyn, NY. She has written for The New York Times, New York Magazine, Cosmopolitan and more. Her first book, “HEY LADIES!” came out in May 2018. She loves scary movies and pickles.
Sinem Erkas is a multi-disciplinary graphic artist and art director. Her practice ranges from digital artworks to photo-illustrations and set design. Inspired by Pop Art, Minimalism and optical illusions, Sinem likes to create playful and bold artworks that make you look twice.
I am very grateful to the publisher for providing me with a physical copy and advanced copies of these books via NetGalley. This review is my honest opinion.