Today it is my pleasure to review a brilliant new picture book: When Grandma Burnt Her Bra, written by Samantha Tidy, illustrated by Aśka, and published by EK Books.
About When Grandma Burnt Her Bra
When Grandma Burnt her Bra
Samantha Tidy & Aśka
9781922539465 | Hardback | 32 pages | 215 x 288mm | $24.99 | 6th September 2023 | Children’s Picture Book
A revolutionary grandma tells her grandchild the story of the women’s rights movement, and the ‘dinosaurs’ she had to fight against. History and humour combine in this lesson about equality for little readers.
Maggie’s grandma burnt her bra when she was young!
Not because she didn’t like underwear, but because she wanted to protest against women not having the same rights as men.
Maggie and her grandma think those kinds of ideas should be extinct – just like the dinosaurs!
Join them on this fun-filled adventure through the history of women’s rights and be inspired to keep the feminist flame burning!
About the author Samantha Tidy
Samantha Tidy is a writer of fiction and non-fiction for both children and adults. She seeks out stories that cultivate connection, resilience and build community. She believes strongly that books can help us imagine a better world for the next generation to inherit. She is passionate about libraries, sustainable stewardship of our planet and using hope, action and compassion to regenerate our future. Samantha’s previous titles include Our Bush Capital (Storytorch Press, 2020) and The Day We Built the Bridge (MidnightSun Publishing, 2019).
About the illustrator Aśka
Aśka, (pronounced ‘Ash-ka’), is creative dynamite. She is an energetic visual storyteller, a comic maker and an ex-quantum physicist. Passionate about visual literacy, Aśka is an engaging presenter who travels across Australia teaching drawing-as-a-language to enthusiastic audiences. She has published many books and comics, volunteers for numerous literary organisations, and is the recipient of several government Arts grants, prizes, and the May Gibbs Fellowship. Sometimes she sleeps. Aśka’s illustrations are featured in previous EK Books titles My Storee, The Incurable Imagination and This is NOT a Book!
What I like about When Grandma Burnt Her Bra
A book that includes a feisty grandma, an inquisitive child and a whole bunch of cave men and dinosaurs – what’s to not love?
When Grandma Burnt Her Bra has already taken its place on my shelves of favourites. A book about a sensitive and serious subject, told in a hilarious way, it doesn’t shy away from the truth of history. At the same time, it makes the history accessible for little ones, and even big ones, to understand.
The book’s title and its quirky cover illustration showing a fearless grandma, a horrified dinosaur and a bunch of terrified cavemen, as well as a bra on fire, had instant appeal. I knew I was in for a treat, but I hadn’t realised how effectively a lesson in history could be presented in a picture book.
The story is told from Maggie’s point of view. Maggie loves listening to her grandmother’s stories, and this one is about the day Grandma burned her bra. But she didn’t burn it because it was worn out. She burned it because attitudes of the time, especially those accepting inequality between men and women, were old and outdated.
When Maggie couldn’t believe it possible that people thought that way, Grandma declared it to be dinosaur thinking. That was the cue for dinosaurs and cavemen to thunder onto the scene.
The clever combination of text and illustrations, and careful use of font for emphasis, place these dinosaur attitudes right where they belong: in history. The message, which is strong, is strengthened by the appearance of these prehistoric creatures, and the humour nails it.
I have seen no other book that tackles the history of feminism and women’s rights in such an effective and entertaining way. I’m sure little people will ask for it to be read over and over. Perhaps in one of those readings they will realise why it’s important to not accept things as they are just because they always were, and that the only way to effect change is to do something.
The story contains the curiosity, wonder and disbelief that any child would hold about the attitudes that, to many adults, really don’t seem that far in the past; for example, women not having the vote, not receiving equal pay, not having the same opportunities for work. I particularly love this line which I think encapsulates the book’s theme:
‘Women know how to handle such situations. Why didn’t they just ask them?’
The book encourages children to question, to seek answers, and stand up for what they believe, especially against injustices they see. Perhaps they will feel the fire in their belly the way Maggie does after hearing her grandmother explain the injustices and inequalities that led her to burn her bra.
As an additional note, the story reminded me of something my ever-so humorous and inquisitive daughter said to me when she was about seven and I was much, much younger. She loved asking me about my childhood. ‘What was it like when you were a girl?’ she’d often say. One day, she added rather quickly, with a cheeky grin on her face, ‘What were the dinosaurs like?’ When she reads this book, she’ll know.
Congratulations to Samantha Tidy, Aśka and EK Books for this wonderful book.
I am happy to recommend it, but don’t just take my word for it. When Grandma Burnt Her Bra was launched last month in the historic Senate chamber of the Museum of Democracy with special guest speaker, Senator David Pocock.
Teacher notes can be accessed free of charge from the publisher EK Books.
Purchase your own copy of When Grandma Burnt Her Bra direct from the publisher or from all good bookshops and online book stores.
With thanks to EK Books from whom I received a copy of When Grandma Burnt Her Bra in return for an honest review.