The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women

By Ailsa Ross and Amy Blackwell

© 2019

An inspiring biographical collection celebrating the adventurousness and ingenuity of girls and women around the world.

Now more than ever, the world is recognizing how strong women and girls are. How strong? In the early 1920s, Inuit expeditioner Ada Blackjack survived for two years as a castaway on an uninhabited island in the Arctic Ocean before she was finally rescued. And she’s just one example.

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.

Author and activist Ailsa Ross gives readers a fun, informative piece of nonfiction that emphasizes the boundless potential of a new generation of women.

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Product Details

  • Publisher: Pajama Press Inc.
  • Page Count: 128 pages
  • Dimensions: 7.7in x 0.6in x 9.9in
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SKU# DT090624

  • PUBLISHED SEP 2019
    From: $26.00
    ISBN 9781772780987

Quick Overview

An inspiring biographical collection celebrating the adventurousness and ingenuity of girls and women around the world.

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women

By Ailsa Ross and Amy Blackwell

© 2019

An inspiring biographical collection celebrating the adventurousness and ingenuity of girls and women around the world.

Now more than ever, the world is recognizing how strong women and girls are. How strong? In the early 1920s, Inuit expeditioner Ada Blackjack survived for two years as a castaway on an uninhabited island in the Arctic Ocean before she was finally rescued. And she’s just one example.

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women is a rousing collection of biographies focused on women and girls who have written, explored, or otherwise plunged headfirst into the pages of history. Undaunted by expectations, they made their mark by persevering in pursuit of their passions. The tales come from a huge variety of times and places, from a Canadian astronaut to an Indian secret agent to a Balkan pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome.

Author and activist Ailsa Ross gives readers a fun, informative piece of nonfiction that emphasizes the boundless potential of a new generation of women.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Publisher: Pajama Press Inc.
  • Page Count: 128 pages
  • Dimensions: 7.7in x 0.6in x 9.9in

Praise for The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women

2020 USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection

2020 CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring selection

2019 CBC Books "12 books for kids and young adults to read this fall" selection

★ STARRED REVIEW "Brief biographies of 52 intrepid women, spanning the globe and all centuries, are flanked by large, full-color illustrations and by maps that show the women's adventuring sites....The artwork, reminiscent of art deco travel posters, is a gorgeous complement to the eclectic curation....An exciting labor of love—for kids of all gender identities."—Kirkus Starred Review

“The subjects are fascinating, and the women come from a variety of time periods, geographic regions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnicities and include women with disabilities. Yet they all shared common characteristics: the need for adventure and a desire to learn. The book also contains portraits of the women, a glossary, and information about Indigenous peoples and the world’s ever-changing political boundaries. VERDICT This colorful, delightful book is highly recommended for all history and women’s history collections.”—School Library Journal

"Brightly colored digital-media portraits face each page of text, and double-page maps pinpoint each subject's country of origin. Truly international in scope and ranging across centuries...this attractive collection should spark inquiry for further research."—Booklist

“The title of this new nonfiction text is enough to catch any readers’ attention, but this is only one of many qualities of this book that will keep readers engaged....The diversity of the women featured allow readers of all backgrounds to find a little bit of themselves in these stories....The colors, cultural aspects, maps, and quotes in the illustrations amplify Ross’ exquisite writing. This would be a strong addition to any middle grade or middle school collection.”—School Library Connection

"Ailsa Ross' The Girl Who Rode a Shark & Other Stories of Daring Women is a comprehensive work of middle grade nonfiction....[A] useful resource for school-aged studies on topics such as women's rights, female historical figures or biographies. The book is diverse both culturally and geographically, and the easy to navigate layout and bright engaging illustrations will quickly draw readers in....Highly Recommended."—CM Magazine

“This one-of-a-kind celebration of fierce and fearless female adventurers…Written in age-appropriate text chock-full of fascinating facts and figures…this spirited collection of stories is a must for every classroom and home library, fillings its readers with a palpable sense of wonder, inspiring them to aim high, dream big and blaze new trials, carving their own indelible mark on history.”—Canadian Children’s Book News

"Rating: G...The biographies are short but give a good idea of what these women did to make them outstanding in their place and time. They could lead to further research by students who have a particular interest in some of the women highlighted."—Resource Links

"The Girl Who Rode a Shark, by Ailsa Ross (who lives in Alberta!) and Amy Blackwell, has managed to live up to my expectations. My favourite bit is the Canadian content...The women profiled in the book come from places all over the world, include many women of colour, and also women with disabilities....A few of these figures are familiar, but more are new to us, and their stories are made vivid and compelling through the book's beautiful artwork and smart and engaging prose."—Pickle Me This

"What an incredible compilation of fearless females who are sure to inspire anyone who reads of their bravery, strength, intelligence, and persistence....THE GIRL WHO RODE A SHARK will serve as inspiration to all readers, especially female, empowering them to be their best selves and follow their hearts no matter how daunting the road—or ocean—might be."—Christina Ammirati

“[A] must have for all kids to discover real examples of courage and perseverance....These extraordinary women will surely inspire the next generation of young readers, or readers of any age to be more brave and take action.”—Mighty Village

“Conversational in tone, and with lovely artwork throughout, this book is full of tales that are sure to inform and entertain. Every one of the women here were looking for adventure and wanting to learn more about the world and the time in which they lived….Inspirational, it will surely encourage readers looking for more information.”—Sal’s Fiction Addiction

Ailsa Ross is an author, editor, and fact-checker. Born in Scotland, she studied law with a focus on women’s and human rights. Her work on the topic of inspirational women began on social media before expanding into the world of books. She lives in Alberta’s Jasper National Park with her family.|
Amy Blackwell is a freelance artist based in Nottingham, England. She works in several media including painting, printmaking, and clothing design. Her art has appeared in a variety of physical and digital settings, from magazines to Instagram. Her voracious passion for her craft is often fuelled by her fondness for pancakes.
INTRODUCTION 7 THE ARTISTS 8 Women with boundless curiosity, gigantic dreams, and a desire to share their amazing experiences with the world – in the form of writing, painting, photography, dance and music. LADY SARASHINA, The lady-in-waiting who became the first travel writer 10 Known for her adventures in: Japan MARIANNE NORTH, The flower hunter who painted over a thousand plants 12 Known for her adventures: Around the world ISABELLA BIRD, The Victorian lady who became a photojournalist 14 Known for her adventures: Around the world NELLIE BLY, The superstar reporter who changed the world by writing about it 16 Known for her adventures: Around the world ZORA NEALE HURSTON, The anthropologist who practiced voodoo 18 Known for her adventures in: Haiti FREYA STARK, The flower farmer who explored Iran’s Valleys of the Assassins 20 Known for her adventures in: The Middle East EMILY HAHN, The writer who walked across the Congo 22 Known for her adventures in: Present-day Democratic Republic of the Congo JOSEPHINE BAKER, The cabaret siren who became an activist and spy 24 Known for her adventures in: France and Morocco MIHAELA NOROC, The photographer who captures the beauty of women around the globe 26 Known for her adventures: Around the world THE PIONEERS 28 Women who have blazed trails from the mountains to the plains. These adventurers have broken big ground for the rest of us. TEUTA, The pirate queen who stood up to Ancient Rome 30 Known for her adventures in: Ancient Illyria (present-day Balkans) ISOBEL GUNN, The fur trapper who crossed the Canadian wilderness in disguise 32 Known for her adventures in: present-day Canada SACAGAWE,A, The teenager who joined America’s biggest expedition 33 Known for her adventures in: present-day United States AMELIA EARHART, The pioneer pilot who soared over oceans 36 Known for her adventures: Around the world BERYL MARKHAM, The pilot who broke an Atlantic record 37 Known for her adventures in: Africa and over the Atlantic ADA BLACKJACK, The castaway who survived alone on an Arctic island 40 Known for her adventures on: Wrangel Island LUCY NABIKI TAKONA, The female safari guide challenging expectations 42 Known for her adventures in: Kenya AISHOLPAN NURGAIV, The teenage eagle hunter bringing back a 2,000-year-old tradition 44 Known for her adventures in: Mongolia THE SCIENTISTS 46 Women who have voyaged from the deepest seas to outer space in their quests to understand the world around us. MARIA SIBYLLA MERIAN, The painter who traveled to Suriname in search of butterflies 48 Known for her adventures in: Suriname JEANNE BARET, The first woman to sail around the world 50 Known for her adventures: Around the world WANG ZHENYI, The astronomer who traveled across eastern China 52 Known for her adventures in: China YNÉS MEXÍA, The explorer who proved science is for everyone 54 Known for her adventures in: Mexico SYLVIA EARLE, The biologist who led the first all-women team of scientists to live underwater 56 Known for her adventures in: the ocean ROBERTA BONDAR, The astronaut who became the first neurologist in space 58 Known for her adventures in: space NALINI NADKARNI, The dancer who became a treetop scientist 60 Known for her adventures in: Costa Rica BOLORTSETSEG MINJIN, The paleontologist making dinosaur studies accessible to everyone 62 Known for her adventures in: Mongolia THE ACTIVISTS 64 Women who have dared to speak up, kick down barriers, fight injustice and make the world a better place – whatever it takes. Naomi Wadler, The student advocating for victims of gun violence 66 Known for her adventures in: USA JOAN OF ARC, The teenage warrior who fought for France 68 Known for her adventures in: France NZINGA, The queen who became a fierce fighter 70 Known for her adventures in: present-day Angola BESSIE COLEMAN, The pilot who opened the skies to everyone 72 Known for her adventures in: France and the USA WHINA COOPER, The Ma-ori activist who marched 600 miles for land rights 74 Known for her adventures in: New Zealand GERTRUDE BLOM, The anthropologist who became one of the first environmental activists 76 Known for her adventures in: Mexico Shannen Koostachin, The teenager who fought for education in First Nations communities 78 Known for her adventures in: Canada NOOR INAYAT KHAN, The Indian princess who became a secret agent 80 Known for her adventures in: France ANITA RODDICK, The entrepreneur who traveled the world to create ethical cosmetics 82 Known for her adventures: Around the world SVETLANA ALEXIEVICH, The Nobel Prize winner giving a voice to the survivors of conflict and disaster 84 Known for her adventures in: the former Soviet Union THE ATHLETES 86 Women who have pushed themselves to the very limits of their capabilities in pursuit of bold goals and ambitions. ANNIE LONDONDERRY, The first woman to circumnavigate the world by bicycle 88 Known for her adventures: Around the world DIANA NYAD, The champion who swam from Cuba to Florida 90 Known for her adventures in: the Florida Strait CHERYL STRAYED, The writer who sparked a hiking revolution 92 Known for her adventures in: the USA KIMI WERNER, The freediving chef who rode a shark 94 SILVANA LIMA, The surfer who refuses to take “no” for an answer 96 Known for her adventures in: Brazil ARUNIMA SINHA, The amputee athlete who climbed Mount Everest 98 Known for her adventures in: the Himalayas MIRA RAI, The soldier running the world’s most challenging trail races 100 Known for her adventures in: Nepal LAURA DEKKER, The teenager who sailed solo around the earth 102 Known for her adventures: Around the world ASHIMA SHIRAISHI, The teenager being called the best rock climber of all time 104 Known for her adventures in: Around the world JADE HAMEISTER, The polar explorer who hit back at bullies from the South Pole 106 Known for her adventures in: the Arctic Circle and Antarctica THE SEEKERS 108 Women who have journeyed in search of meaning, love, safety – the things that make a life. ISABEL GODIN, The noblewoman who became lost in the Amazon rainforest 110 Known for her adventures in: the Amazon HESTER STANHOPE, The gentlewoman who became Queen of the Desert 112 Known for her adventures in: Syria ALEXANDRA DAVID-NÉEL, The Buddhist opera singer who entered the forbidden city of Lhasa 114 Known for her adventures in: Tibet ISABELLE EBERHARDT, The explosive writer who explored the Sahara Desert 116 Known for her adventures in: Algeria ROBYN DAVIDSON, The wanderer who crossed 1,700 miles of Australian desert to the Indian Ocean 118 Known for her adventures in: Australia MANON OSSEVOORT, The adventurer who drove a tractor from Europe to the South Pole 120 Known for her adventures in: Europe, Africa and Antarctica NUJEEN MUSTAFA, The teenager who journeyed from war-torn Syria in a wheelchair 122 Known for her adventures: Across Europe GLOSSARY 124 Back Matter: Indigenous people referenced in this book & a bit about geography 127 Acknowledgments 128
CBC Books "12 books for kids and young adults to read this fall" selection
CA 2019
CCBC Best Books for Kids & Teens Spring selection
CA 2020
USBBY Outstanding International Books List selection
US 2020