Reading About Women Who Dared to be Different

"Bad Girls Throughout History" is an illustrated book by Ann Shen that offers a quick read into a few women throughout history who challenged the status quo. The book is easy to pick up and read and includes some fun biographical tidbits you can share with friends. 

In the wake of celebrating International Women's Day last week, the Covergalls team wanted to share a recent non-fiction book a few of us read: "Bad Girls Throughout History," by Ann Shen. 

The book is a collection of short, one-page biographical vignettes of women who faced numerous obstacles in their lives with courage and managed to accomplish remarkable change. 

Each story is accompanied by a unique watercolour illustration drawn by Shen herself, a Los Angeles-based graphic designer and illustrator. The illustrations also sometimes include a brief quote or description of the "bad" women they are featuring (i.e. women who were/are breaking social stereotypes, biases, and rules). In the end, the pages feel like a collection of cute posters or art pieces you could hang on your wall. 

In her dedication, Shen writes that the book is "For girls of all ages who dare to be bad, and for the people who stand behind us when we are...especially my mom Alice and my husband Ryan."

A great message. It's always nice to see spaces that help to empower and champion women and their stories. So many women have not received the recognition they deserve for their hard work - although in recent years we have been seeing more efforts to remember their names. Women like Big Mama Thornton and Rosalind Franklin come to mind. 

Shen's book offers a variety of women to read about, each with their own amazing stories: Sojourner Truth, Florence Nightingale, Nellie Bly, Sally Ride, and even 19th-century pirate captain Ching Shih to name a few. And it was nice that while many of the women were recognizable, there were also women who we didn't know and could learn about.

The profiles are short and accomplish what they set out to do: briefly introduce readers to some of the amazing trailblazing women out there. Plus the back of the book contains a more detailed bibliography for those wanting further reading!

And while it would have been nice to have an even wider, more diverse list of women named Shen openly admits in the preface of the book that it's "by no means a definitive list of the one hundred bad girls in history." So, a great starting point.

Overall, it's was a really lovely book to flip through and one that helps champion women throughout history. A great coffee-table book or gift to share.