Blog Tour: Fierce, Fearless And Free by Lari Don. Illustrated by Eilidh Muldoon.
Meet Inanna who conquered a mountain. Bridget who rid her house of witches. Kandek who outsmarted a wearwolf. These heroines are fearless, bold, quick-thinking and smart, and their stories make for excellent reading.
Folk stories have been important to me since I was small. It began with music. Songs I heard as my Dad worked through his collection of LPs, cassettes and CDs. Steeleye Span, Fairport Convention – the stories they sang weren’t always fully comprehensible to my young mind but I got the jist enough to know that they were a little more exciting than the limited cannon of fairytales that was read on a regular basis to children. Later, I found a collection of folk tales retold by Kevin Crossley Holland and my interest in folklore really took hold. How stories grow out of human experiences. How time and place shapes the retelling, until each culture has its own canon of best-known tales.
This collection includes tales from different cultures. It reflects the fact that stories are told and retold all around the world.
My favourites included The Lace Dragon, the story of a girl who outsmarts the Emperor demanding her hand in marriage by drawing on her magic as a lacemaker, and Goddess VS Mountain, which is the story of a girl up aganist the might of the land itself. The stories have such different themes and settings that the collection remains engaging. As an adult reader, it reminded me of the magic of being a child and begging for just one more story.
The way these stories are written lends itself to speaking aloud. It is an art in itself to write with such clarity and yet in a way that draws the reader in and keeps them hooked.
As a society, we are becoming increasingly aware that the notions we form about gender begin early and restrict our ideas about our identities. Countering stereotypes is important if we are to offer the next generation a wider range of ideas about who they might become. The fact that this collection shows girls being clever and active, angry and proactive and energetic will make it popular with teachers, librarians and parents looking to counter narrow ideas about what it means to be a girl.
It turns out happy ever after can come in all kinds of ways. These tales are well written, timeless and filled with strong female role models.
Thanks to Faye Rogers PR and Bloomsbury Education for my copy of Fierce, Fearless And Free. Opinions my own.