Reaching the Stars


Poetry from Jan Dean, Liz Brownlee and Michaela Morgan is assembled in this collection about women- women’s roles, perceptions about women, and women from history,  sport, education and science. Although the subjects are different, the themes are similar; these women defy expectation and rise to challenges, most often not of their own making.

From phossy jawed match girls, to Rachel Carson, Red Bird, to Women of WW1 (Michaela Morgan’s ‘Unknown Worriers’), Malala Yousafzai, to a young Leicestershire charity worker- these women are described and celebrated in poetry that is accessibly and beautifully crafted.

Alongside biographical and historical themed poems, is verse that plays with assumptions of femininity, from the fairytale happy ending, to the ‘child that is born on… ‘ rhyme, choosing friends, to aspirations of being a princess.

The poetry is proud rather than aggressive, alert, often funny, and clearly determined. Every poem is empowering without need of a laser beam punch. ‘Reaching the Stars‘ is a wonderful selection, ideal for any ‘modern girl from planet Earth’.

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Reaching the Stars

Poems About Extraordinary Women & Girls

Jan Dean, Liz Brownlee & Michaela Morgan

(Pan Macmillan)

Reaching the Stars is a bold collection of poetry. It includes historical narratives, biographical descriptions, wars on womanly containment, inspiring cries and rallying rhymes. This wonderful book is ideal for school and family. What’s more, its subjects extend from Malala Yousafzai to the unknown heroines of the industrial age. Then again, there is such a range of poetry styles. It seems that these are works to be heard and shared and known!
Furthermore, its purpose and determination are evident in its formation. Thereafter, when we read A Girl is Born, we consider the future of this child. However, when we share Pillory Hillary, it seems as though we’re wondering at her journey and thereafter at the level of feeling she seems to attract.
Alongside the range of subjects and styles, is a variety of lifestyles, professions or lives, histories and geography. Therefore, we compare the war experience of Edith Cavell or Boudica. Thereafter, we tear up the court or the field with sports’ achievers.
Altogether Reaching the Stars demonstrates the poetry strength and conviction of Jan Dean, Liz Brownlee and Michaela Morgan.  We’ve realised this through other works from these three writers, such as Wonder: The Natural History Museum Poetry Book. Bookwagon recommends this title highly to all our readers, whatever their gender.


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