It is the summer of exploration! Many readers will be blasting off into space to celebrate the Moon landing anniversary, but don’t forget about the intrepid explorers who spent their time discovering this world in a time when Earth was as unknown to the people living on it as space was to us 50 years ago!
Away with Words: The Daring Story of Isabella Bird follows a 19th century English woman who dared to defy expectations and explore as much of the world as she could. As a child, exploring was out of the question for Isabella Bird; but as soon as she set foot out in the wild, exploring became the only thing that could help her forget her aches and pains. It is now over a century since Isabella set out on her last expedition, but her memory remains alive in the numerous books she published over the course of her many voyages.
You won’t want to miss Lori Mortensen’s beautifully-written picture book biography of Isabella’s life. Mortensen expertly uses her detailed but clear text to present a story that is both informational and easily understood by younger readers, and Kristy Caldwell’s illustrations bring Isabella and her story to life.
In this interview, author Lori Mortensen explains what drew her to Isabella Bird’s story. She says, “I’m drawn to Isabella’s story because according to English society in the 1800s, her life was supposed to unfold much differently. Not only was she born with chronic health issues, but society also expected her to stay home and manage a household. Yet, in spite of the odds against her, she forged a daring new path that took her around the world.”
“Mortensen distills a very full life into a condensed but readable narrative for primary-grade children.… Children who hope to forge their own paths can take heart from this picture-book biography.” —Booklist
“Caldwell’s illustrations are clean and beautiful.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Mortensen writes in a precise, poetic manner… This volume captures the spirit of a woman who embraced new experiences and played by her own rules…” —Publishers Weekly