“You have to make more noise than anybody else, you have to make yourself more obtrusive than anybody else, you have to fill all the papers more than anybody else, in fact you have to be there all the time and see that they do not snow you under.” – Emmeline Pankhurst
Make More Noise! has been published to coincide with the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage – when some women were finally able to vote in Britain. The stories have been written by established and new voices within children’s literature, and they all celebrate strong, inspiring female characters throughout the ages, both fictional and real. As well as celebrating women’s suffrage, and the continuing battle for worldwide equality, £1 from the sale of every book goes directly to Camfed, which tackles poverty and inequality by supporting women’s education in developing countries.
“Women everywhere are fighting this. We’re coming together, and we’re kicking, and we’re shouting, and we’re marching, and we’re speaking, and we won’t be silenced. And we will win.” – Out for the Count
Out for the Count by Sally Nichols – 5/5 stars. 2nd April 1911, the census. Women all over the country walked out of their houses and refused to be counted for the census if they wouldn’t be counted for the vote. An excellent insight into what was happening during 1911, what the suffragettes were fighting for, and the horrendous inequality of the time.
“And I think if we want to discover the secrets of life and make something important, we shouldn’t have to listen to people that tell us what we are supposed or not supposed to do.” – The Bug Hunters
The Bug Hunters by M.G. Leonard – 5/5 stars. Oh, I loved this. Sofia, who loves bugs and nature, has to move and attend a new school, where the other children promptly mock her for her love of bugs. The children are really cruel, and it saddens me that children can be that horrible and judgemental, even at eleven. Beatrice, however, shows Sofia kindness despite being labelled as the ‘weird kid’, and I was practically tearing up when Bea got up to do Show and Tell about Maria Merian.
All Things Bright and Beautiful by Patrice Lawrence – 4.5/5 stars. Such a harrowing and hopeful story about the plight of working and living conditions of girls and women in the Victorian era, and the exposure Olive Malvery gave them.
The Green-Hearted Girl by Kiran Millwood Hargrave – 4.5/5 stars. A broken-hearted weather witch, a sea of tears, tree people, a green-hearted girl. A wonderful myth-like story about overcoming differences.
“If you want things to change, you’ve got to speak up. You have to fight for what you want.” – Tea and Jam
Tea and Jam by Katherine Woodfine – 4.5/5 stars. Another suffrage-era story, with Eveline, a young maid, having her eyes opened to the suffragette movement and the different ways that equality can be fought for.
“I may not reflect the old-fashioned notion of feminine beauty, but why should there be only one kind?” – On Your Bike (perhaps not such a strange or radical notion in 2018, but in 1894? Annie was making waves and smashing those glass ceilings).
On Your Bike by Jeanne Willis – 4.5/5 stars. Annie Londonderry became the first woman to cycle around the world, proving most of the world wrong after two wealthy men made a wager that a woman would never be able to do it. A truly inspiring story.
The Tuesday Afternoon Ghost by Ella Risbridger – 4.5/5 stars. Maybe a ghost story, maybe not, this is all about the power of stories and how they’re told and believed.
The Otter Path by Emma Carroll – 5/5 stars. A lovely war-time story about not assuming you know everything about someone, and realising that there’s often something going on beneath the surface. Plus, otters!
The Race by Ally Kennen – 4.5/5 stars. A young girl staying on a farm with five rambunctious male cousins and her eccentric aunt and uncle who starts off whiney and quiet? I wasn’t expecting to love this as much as I did, but then it turned into this wonderful tale of Faith finding herself and being true to who she really is. So heart-warming and inspiring.
“Honestly, all these people sitting round saying something should be done, and doing nothing! We’re different. We discuss, decide and then do something!” – Discuss, Decide, Do
Discuss, Decide, Do by Catherine Johnson – 5/5 stars. Post-war Britain, The 43 Group, standing up and fighting against fascism, bullying, and racism. A very powerful ending to this excellent collection of short stories.
If I’ve taken anything away from this collection, it’s that you can never just stand by and hope things will get better, or that people will become less ignorant. We have to affect change if we want it to happen. Make sure you use your voice in any way you can, any way that is safe. Stand against cruelty, nastiness, bullying, inequality, dehumanisation. Don’t just stand by and watch: make more noise, until they listen.
Read: February 14th-18th 2018