#WomenReadWomen2019 Books Early Readers Features Genre Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes Witches and Goddesses Dryads and Priestesses

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Female Adventurers And Their Various Enchantments

"Rebel In A Dress: Adventurers" by Sylvia Branzei and Melissa Sweet.

Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2019 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.


Rebel In A Dress: Adventurers

(Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Sylvia Branzei Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Published by Running Press Kids (2011)
ISBN: 0762436964 (ISBN13: 9780762436965)
Bought my own copy of the book. Book photos taken by me.

I bought this book years ago, and it is only for our current reading theme that I finally found the time to unearth it from my shelves to feature here for our #WomenReadWomen2019 theme. While it technically is not about witches or dryads, the book shows intrepid, bold, courageous women who were initially rejected, regarded as outcasts, and somewhat persecuted for their vision (although this was naturally downplayed in this collection).

This is also technically not a picturebook, but more like a beautifully illustrated and designed middle grade nonfiction book featuring twelve women from various parts of the globe, although as to be expected, predominantly from the United States.

As befits the title, the women are indeed adventurers: participating in sled dog races even when they were discouraged from doing so (Susan Butcher), they circumnavigated the globe even when told that this is not possible (Nellie Bly), touched down on the moon and orbited around the Earth (Valentina Tereshkova), and swam across the English Channel for 14 hours and 31 minutes (Gertrude Ederle) – among just a few.

While the usual suspects are here: Amelia Earhart, Gertrude Ederle, Nellie Bly – I appreciated the inclusion of Bold Icelandic woman Gubridur Thorbjarnardottir, for example, whose seafaring story started the entire collection:

Despite the fact that most of the stories are familiar to me, I appreciated Branzei’s suspenseful storytelling with an eye for detail that would engage even the most reluctant reader. Melissa Sweet’s art is expectedly masterful.

Perhaps what I did not enjoy so much was the inclusion of random tidbits or facts that did not cohesively connect to any of the stories or the narrative. It seemed like random fillers that served no purpose, whatsoever, except perhaps to distract the reader. Perhaps if those little inserts had something to do with the women’s life stories, that would have been better. The book also included their list of References at the end of the book, which would be appreciated by a lot of researchers and educators.


#WomenReadWomen2019: United States of America

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Female Adventurers And Their Various Enchantments

  1. I shared a book about strong women today, too, Myra, most still working today, a few from the past. This is one I’ll look for!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. annettepimentel

    Melissa Sweet’s illustrations are so distinctive and so wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

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