Illustrated by: Jen Corace
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
After reading and greatly admiring Lisa Pliscou’s attractive and enchanting biography of Jane Austen’s childhood in Young Jane Austen, I was delighted to learn that she has published a picture book biography for elementary grade students titled, Brave Jane Austen: Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel. In this charming and comprehensive book, Ms. Pliscou highlights many of the significant events in Jane Austen’s life: such as her education, writing and publishing efforts, and the men in her life.
Weaved into the story are historical context and expectations for a young woman who lived during Jane Austen’s time. In a subtle yet direct manner Ms. Pliscou shows many examples of how Jane Austen was brave and a bit of a rebel! I greatly appreciated seeing a portrayal of Jane Austen that accentuates her bravery. For she was indeed courageous, independent, and forward-thinking. Through this tale young readers, who are used to our modern rights and freedoms, will be able to grasp how during Jane Austen’s life it was unique and almost unthinkable for a woman to have a profession, write novels, or remain single. While there might be an aspect or two of Jane Austen’s life that young readers may not understand, hopefully this will prompt them to ask questions and engage them in conversations about Jane Austen’s life and times.
The watercolor illustrations by Jen Corace splendidly enhance this inspiring retelling of Jane Austen’s life. With each page there is a medley of beautiful colors, details, and textures that cannot help but catch the reader’s eye and make them pause to take in all the elements of the illustration’s design. Two of my favorite pages are one that is a series of silhouettes depicting Jane Austen engaged in various activities and another that shows Jane Austen in bed under the patchwork quilt she made with her mother and sister (which is now on display at Chawton Cottage). On every page there are delicate prints, fine details, and variety of colors and shapes that are simply wonderful to behold.
With some lovely supplementary material in the back providing even more information of Jane Austen’s life, this book is a complete and thorough introduction to Jane Austen for young readers. Skillfully written and gracefully illustrated, Brave Jane Austen is an inspiring and captivating look at how anyone, no matter what humble beginnings they come from, can grow up to accomplish extraordinary achievements. I highly recommend!
With the magnificent illustrations in Brave Jane Austen by Jen Corace, I thought my review would not be complete without showing a little video preview. I hope you enjoy!
(my apologies for the shakiness!!!)