Saturday, November 19, 2011

Review: Borrowed Names

Borrowed Names: Poems About Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, Marie Curie and Their Daughters
By Jeannine Atkins
Published 2010 by Henry Holt and Company

I admit that I had never heard of this book until I found in the 800s of our YA non-fiction (while I was rooting around for other verse works that ended up here instead of in the fiction collection). I was intrigued instantly.

In three different sections, Atkins provides readers with poems of three extraordinary women - all born in 1867 - and their daughters. I found this concept immensely interesting. I had no idea that these women were all contemporaries of each other. I have to say that the only one I really knew very much about was Wilder - and that is because I was thoroughly obsessed with her books as a child. I didn't know, however, that they were encouraged into being and edited by her daughter - who was quite a remarkable woman herself. It was fascinating to see how the daughters of such successful and famous women grew to be amazing women themselves. Sometimes, it's hard to even imagine the life of a child of someone so prolific - it's almost as if one can't even imagine them as real people. I think this book does a wonderful job of humanizing these iconic women and their daughters as well. In the end, they are women like you or I - with an incredible sense of determination and courage. This book could easily find an audience among young women - it screams "you can do anything" and should encourage anyone who reads to achieve their personal best.

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