Project Description

Away with Words
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Away with Words

The Daring Story of Isabella Bird

by Lori Mortensen
illustrated by Kristy Caldwell

An inspirational picture book biography for readers seeking adventure-filled girl power stories. Perfect for Women’s History Month!

“Sure to inspire the explorers of tomorrow.” —BookPage

“Isabella Bird was like a wild vine stuck in a too-small pot. She needed more room. She had to get out. She had to explore.”

Exploring was easier said than done in Victorian England. But Isabella persisted, and with each journey, she breathed in new ways to see and describe everything around her. Question by question, word by word, Isabella bloomed. First, out in the English countryside. Then, off to America and Canada. And eventually, around the world, to Africa, Asia, Australia, and more.

This dashing picture book biography about the first female member of the Royal Geographic Society takes readers around the world with a daring nineteenth-century female explorer and author. Kristy Caldwell’s detailed illustrations illuminate Bird’s travels around the world, and Lori Mortensen’s back matter, author’s note, and bibliography will satisfy the curiosity of readers who want to learn more.


Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People —NCSS/CBC
Parents’ Choice Recommended Award —Parents’ Choice Foundation

Format: Hardcover
Price: $17.95
ISBN: 978-1-68263-005-1
Publication Date: 3/1/2019
Page Count: 32
Size: 10-7/8″ x 9″
Age Range: 6 – 10
Language: English
F&P: U, Gr 5, Genre B
Lexile: 750L
Themes: Women’s History, Exploration, Adventure, Health
BISAC 1: JNF007120 JUVENILE NONFICTION / Biography & Autobiography / Women
BISAC 2: JNF025080 JUVENILE NONFICTION / History / Exploration & Discovery

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“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

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“Biography enthusiasts will be inspired by [Bird’s] experiences and efforts to communicate them with others through writing.” —School Library Connection

“Sure to inspire the explorers of tomorrow…straightforward prose that has a poetic spark. Illustrator Kristy Caldwell’s clean, colorful depictions of faraway settings and remote locales bring wonderful immediacy to the story. The crux of this unforgettable tale is that if you can dream big and be brave, anything is possible.” —BookPage

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Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People —NCSS/CBC, 2020

Parents’ Choice Recommended Award —Parents’ Choice Foundation, 2019

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Meet the Author

A former high school dance teacher and sign language interpreter, Lori Mortensen is the award-winning author of over 100 books and over 500 stories and articles. You can visit her website here.

Meet the Illustrator

Kristy Caldwell

Kristy Caldwell received an MFA in Illustration from the School of Visual Arts. She lives in New York. You can visit her website here.