Book Review: Wonderful Women of the World

Edited by The New York Times best-selling author Laurie Halse Anderson
Featuring cover art By Nicola Scott

Review by Ria Carrogan

It isn’t going to be any surprise to find out that I love this book. A feminist comic book celebrating women that has a lot to say? Right up my street. In our home, we have many books and resources that highlight women who have changed or are still changing the world, but none of them are in graphic novel form. Of course, this means that it was a joy to pick this up and read it with my three-year-old daughter, and then by myself after she'd gone to sleep.

Split up into five sections, it was easy to dip in and out of with my daughter, stopping at stories where she liked the pictures, talking the stories through, discussing the different experiences and adversities of the women and girls. That's one of the things I like about it the most, by being in graphic novel format, it seems so much more accessible (I say this as someone who hates the assumption held by some that comics are for children and young people). It allowed my daughter to be able to engage with it, get excited about the artwork and discuss the visual differences of the women, or talk about how the artwork might be reflecting how they're feeling or what they're experiencing. 

It also means that the writers and artists are able to tell the reader so much more than stories written straight onto a page. There's space to explore the world of these women and girls, allowing for show and don’t tell. Either their starkness or busyness telling you something about them all, their thoughts and feelings, and the situations they find themselves in.

The use of different artists for each story helps to bring something new throughout, and I found that each style complemented each story. Particular standouts for me were Jody Houser and Michhums for Naomi Watanabe: "Finding your fit", Sarah Kuhn and Lynn Yoshii for Keiko Agena: "Asian America’s B.F.F" and Magdalene Visaggio and Emma Kubert for Leiomy Maldonado: "Generational" although only highlighting just these three is a travesty in itself, as every single profile delivers something unique and special.

The breadth of women covered is impressive. Some names I was already familiar with, while there were also some that I'd never heard of,.The great part is that they were all chosen to inspire, teach, challenge, and generate discussion.

I found myself getting emotional throughout, as there are so many stories of diversity, adversity, and triumph throughout the book, It's simultaneously depressing and hugely uplifting. It's painful discovering what so many of these women went through to facilitate change, or just to feel like they belong, living in a patriarchal society.

However, each story shows how these women effected change or took power back into their lives, how they found a place in their communities, how they worked really damn hard to make the world a better place.

Please don’t let my “smash the patriarchy” mentality make you think this book is anything but positive, though. The tone is perfect, never preachy, just telling important stories about women. It's a hopeful and inspiring book, truly celebrating wonderful women.

Here's a list of the contents and creators of this amazing book, and the inspirational ladies profiled:

  • Beyoncé - Writer: Mikki Kendall / Artist: A D’Amico
  • Edith Windsor - Writer: Amanda Deibert / Artist: Cat Staggs
  • Francisca Nneka Okeke - Writer: Sheena Howard / Artist: Laylie Frazier
  • Greta Thunberg - Writer: Kami Garcia / Artist: Igzell
  • Judith Heumann - Writer: Marieke Nijkamp / Artist: Ashanti Fortson
  • Khatijah Mohamad Yusoff - Writer: Amanda Deibert / Artist: Hanie Mohd
  • Keiko Agena - Writer: Sarah Kuhn / Artist: Lynne Yoshii
  • Leiomy Maldonado - Writer: Magdalene Visaggio / Artist: Alexis Williams
  • Malala Yousafzai - Writer: Son M. / Artist: Safiya Zerrogui
  • Marcia Barbosa - Writer: Corinna Bechko / Artist: Anastasia Longoria
  • Mariana Costa Checa - Writer: Melissa Marr / Artist: Marcela Cespedes
  • Mari Copeny - Writer: Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich / Artist: Sharee Miller
  • Marsha P. Johnson - Writer: Jadzia Axelrod / Artist: Michaela Washington
  • Naomi Watanabe - Writer: Jodi Houser / Artist: Michiums
  • Ruth Bader Ginsburg - Writer: Lilah Sturges / Artist: Devaki Neogi
  • Ellen Ochoa - Writer: Cecil Castellucci / Artist: Carina Guevara
  • Serena Williams - Writer: Danielle Paige / Artist: Brittney Williams
  • Teara Fraser - Writer: Traci Sorell / Artist: Natasha Donovan

Images and Review CopyCourtesy of DC Entertainment and B/HI / 42 West


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