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  • Writer's pictureNZ Booklovers

Go Girl by Barbara Else

Updated: Apr 17, 2018

This stunning illustrated storybook is on a whole other level. Filled with the stories of epic New Zealand women, it is both inspiring and powerful. Go Girl introduces both young and old readers to successful Kiwi women who have achieved in a range of pursuits. Some are household names, while others will be wonderful discoveries for some readers.

Award-winning children's author Barbara Else expertly weaves the women's stories into a delightful, easy to read, format. 

Each woman's story is accompanied by striking portraits by well-known Kiwi artists, including Fifi Colston, Phoebe Morris, Vasanti Unka and Ali Teo. The illustrations are gorgeous, with each offering a unique perspective of the woman at the centre of the story. Mini biographies at the back of the book of both the author and artists make them seem like extra stories. Each artist was also asked to create a self portrait, each one a little sneak peek into their mind.

A two-page spread near the end places each of the 'epic Go Girls' on a timeline -- from 1824 to 1997 -- and includes a cute wee space for the owner of the book to add their own details.

The book is a beautiful representation of our country -- women from all walks of life and cultures are represented within the pages of this hardcover book.

Māori warrior Ahumai Te Paerata's story sits alongside athlete Beatrice Faumuina, while singer Lorde and golfer Lydia Ko also feature. Swimmer Sophie Pascoe, archer Neroli Fairhall and politician Mojo Mathers share their stories of pushing past physical challenges.

Else said when she was approached to write the book, she never considered saying no.

"I wasn't sure I'd meet the challenge but I absolutely wanted to try because young people -- actually, all of us -- need real-life stories that encourage us to stay true to our own goals."

She said the stories were not told to "say how amazing" the women are, but rather to inspire others to become a hero in their own right.

Else has certainly achieved what she set out to do. Go Girls should be in every bookshelf, regardless of the reader's gender. It is inspiring, positive, and a beautiful record of our most powerful women.

Reviewer: Rebekah Fraser

Puffin, RRP $45

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