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Reviewed by Carola Crawford, English teacher, Karanga Mai Young Parents’ College
Opening sentence
I’m just an ordinary girl. But my Aunt Honor was far from ordinary.
This is a biography of the brief life of the author’s great aunt, who died at the young age of 27 during active service in WWII. Her life is portrayed as a triumph of the human spirit and an example of girl power rather than as the tragedy it must have been for her and her family. The illustrations provide a useful context to help young readers appreciate how different life was for a young woman at the time. There were few women in the armed forces and generally women were expected to provide emotional and administrative support rather than engage in “manly” activities, such as maintaining the mechanical aspects of planes.

I particularly liked the way the author positions Honor’s life in the opening pages - comparing her “ordinary life” with the “far from ordinary life” of her aunt. History is illuminated from a women’s perspective in an unsentimental and matter of fact way. We are shown the many sacrifices made by the brave and uncomplaining women, who were determined to follow their destinies and work in traditionally male areas. There is further background information about other women included in the end pages.
Author & Illustrator: Gillian Torrckler, Adele Jackson
Publisher: Bateman Books
ISBN: 9781776890705
Format: Hardcover
Publication: August 2023
Ages: Primary and early Secondary