Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Atkins, Jeannine. 2010. BORROWED NAMES. New York: Henry Holt. ISBN 9780805089349 [Suggested Grade Levels 7-10]
This novel in verse explores the lives of three remarkable women, all born the same year, 1867. Told as three separate stories, the lives of Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C. J. Walker and Marie Curie are highlighted. Each woman has left an indelible mark on society, but what kind of mark did they leave on their daughters? This unique fictionalized biography shows these women, not through the eyes of admiring outsiders, but through those who may have known them best, their daughters.
Author Jeannine Atkins provides each of the daughters’ narratives with a distinctive voice, capturing the omnipresent subtleties of the mother-daughter relationship. Love, hate, resentment, guilt, and finally understanding are slowly revealed as the daughters grow from young girls to women. Atkins’ sparse, powerful verse conveys the heart of each of these women and that of their stories: “Whatever happens now/here’s the grace:/A writer can change even a burning house,/depending on where she begins and ends her story.”
Use BORROWED NAMES as a prompt for discussions of mother-daughter relationships or the changing roles, rights and standards for women.
Learn more about women who changed the world:
Krull, Kathleen. LIVES OF EXTRAORDINARY WOMEN: RULERS, REBELS (AND WHAT THE NEIGHBORS THOUGHT). ISBN 9780152008079
Thimmesh, Catherine. GIRLS THINK OF EVERYTHING: STORIES OF INGENIOUS INVENTIONS BY WOMEN. ISBN 9780618195633
By Marianne Follis