Girl Power in Ancient Times: Review of Just a Girl by Jackie French

Girl Power in Ancient Times: Review of Just a Girl by Jackie French

Just a Girl by Jackie French is the story of Maryiam of Nazareth, the woman we know as Mary, the mother of Jesus. However Just a Girl is not a religious story, rather an historical account of the time.

From the age of 12, Australian author, Jackie French wondered about the Christmas story – where did it come from and who told it? With this in mind and based on primary sources, she has meticulously created small village life in Judea in 72AD as the starting point in this work of historical fiction.

As the story opens, a young girl called Judith is watching Roman chariots pass by in a cloud of dust, and everyone in her village is relived that they haven’t stopped. Yet Sawtha Rabba, one of the elders of the village and her great grandmother believes that they shouldn’t let their guard down.

And so, begins the story of Rabba, Judith, and her sister Baratha’s escape from the Roman army destroying their village and their subsequent fight for survival. Despite finding refuge in a cave where preserved food is in abundance, Judith and her sister must hone their skills and take on many jobs that were highly unusual for women back then.

While Judith survives some eye-opening experiences, hunting, defending them against wild animals and soldiers, Rabba tells the girls stories of her life in an attempt to prepare the girls for the time when they will be on their own in the world.

Later in the journey they are joined by Roman slave Caius who is a Christian. When he discovers that Rabba knew Maryiam (or Mary) the mother of Joshua (Jesus) he is determined to find out as much as he can about this woman about whom little is known. Of all Rabba’s stories, this is the one she is most hesitant to share.

This wonderful new offering from beloved Jackie French is about women telling their own story – an older woman passing on information to the next generation of women, girls finding independence and even in small ways, challenging the status quo.

Just a Girl also includes extensive author notes on historical sources, languages, betrothal traditions, food – including a recipe for flat bread that the kids can make. Perfect for 10 + readers, it will serve as a great starting point for discussions around women, slavery, independence, customs of the past and the importance of literacy.

Purchase a copy of Just a Girl | Read about Jackie’s favourite childhood books

Jackie French AM is an award-winning writer, wombat negotiator, the 2014–2015 Australian Children’s Laureate and the 2015 Senior Australian of the Year. In 2016 Jackie became a Member of the Order of Australia for her contribution to children’s literature and her advocacy for youth literacy. She is regarded as one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors and writes across all genres — from picture books, history, fantasy, ecology and sci-fi to her much loved historical fiction for a variety of age groups. ‘Share a Story’ was the primary philosophy behind Jackie’s two-year term as Laureate.

Related Articles

Making Friends with Women Across Centuries: Q&A with Clancy of the Overflow Author, Jackie French

News | Author Related

23 October 2019

Making Friends with Women Across Centuries: Q&A with Clancy of the Overflow Author, Jackie French

    Favourite Fictional Pets

    Kids & Ya

    8 August 2019

    Favourite Fictional Pets

    My Year of Reading Children's Books

    Kids & Ya

    1 August 2019

    My Year of Reading Children's Books

    Authors Read For You

    Kids & Ya

    30 July 2019

    Authors Read For You

    Celebrate The Great Outdoors: Five Books for Nature Lovers

    Kids & Ya

    11 July 2019

    Celebrate The Great Outdoors: Five Books for Nature Lovers

    Friends, Loyalty and Family: Extract from The Good Thieves

    Kids & Ya

    9 July 2019

    Friends, Loyalty and Family: Extract from The Good Thieves

    Great Books About Girls: Recommended by Zoe Norton Lodge

    Kids & Ya

    30 May 2019

    Great Books About Girls: Recommended by Zoe Norton Lodge

    Adventure, Danger, High Seas: Review of Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Kids & Ya

    21 May 2019

    Adventure, Danger, High Seas: Review of Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Ship Ahoy!: Read an extract from Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    Kids & Ya

    21 May 2019

    Ship Ahoy!: Read an extract from Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French

    The Sunlight of My Childhood by Jackie French

    Kids & Ya

    20 May 2019

    The Sunlight of My Childhood by Jackie French

    Jackie French
    About the author

    Jackie French

    Jackie French is the Australian National Children’s Laureate for 2014 and 2015. She is also an historian, ecologist, dyslexic, and a passionate worker for literacy, the right of all children to be able to read, and the power of books.Jackie's writing career spans 25 years, 148 wombats, over 140 books, 36 languages, 3,721 bush rats, and over 60 awards in Australia and overseas.Jackie wrote her first children's book Rainstones in a desperate attempt to earn $106.40 to register her car, while living in a shed with a wallaby called Fred, a black snake called Gladys and a wombat called Smudge. The editor at HarperCollins said it was the messiest, worst spelt manuscript they'd ever received. The mess was because Smudge the wombat left his droppings on the typewriter every night. The spelling was because Jackie is dyslexic. Jackie recommends all beginning writers misspell their first book so it stands out of the pile.Jackie is one of the few writers to win both literary and children's choice awards. Hitler's Daughter spent a decade on most of Australia’s kid’s choice award shortlists; among other awards it won the 2000 CBC Book of the Year for Younger Readers, the UK Wow! Award, a Semi Grand Prix Award in Japan and has been listed as a "blue ribbon' book in the USA. Monkey Baa’s production of Jackie French’s Hitler’s Daughter: the play won both the Helpmann and Drover’s Awards and toured the USA in 2013. Pete the Sheep; the musical, will open in March 2014. Diary of a Wombat, created with Bruce Whatley, is also one of Australia’s best-loved picture books. It has been on bestseller lists across the world, with a still increasing number of awards and translations.Jackie’s vast body of work contains both fictional and non fictional accounts of the last 60,000 years of Australian history, with books like Nanberry: black brother white; The Girl from Snowy River, Tom Appleby: Convict Boy; The Night They Stormed Eureka; A Day to Remember created with Mark Wilson; and Flood, created with Bruce Whatley. Her non-fiction also includes an eight volume history of Australia for young people (The Dinkum History series). Let the Land Speak: how our land created a nation (October 2013) is a work of history for adults, showing how the land itself contributed to iconic events from the first human foot on Australian soil to Eureka, Federation, Gallipoli, and how the land will continue to shape our future.Jackie is also the ACT Children’s Week Ambassador, 2011 Federal Literacy Ambassador, patron of Books for Kids, YESS, and joint patron of Monkey Baa Theatre for Young People with Susanne Gervais and Morris Gleitzman. She is also a director of The Wombat Foundation that raises funds for research into the preservation of the endangered northern hairy nosed wombat.Jackie is a passionate advocate of help for children with learning difficulties as well as the conservation of wildlife and our planet. For nearly 40 years she has studied the species in the bush where she lives, with publications ranging from scientific articles on wombat ecology or endangered species to her ground breaking books on theories and practices for pest and weed ecology and more popular books on subjects like backyard self sufficiency.Jackie and her husband Bryan live in the Araluen valley, a deep valley on the edge of the Deua wilderness area. Most of their property is now a Conservation Refuge for the many rare and endangered species of the area. They live in a home made stone house, with a waterwheel Bryan made as well as solar panels to power their house, with an experimental orchard of over 800 fruit trees and more than 272 kinds of fruit that show how farming can coexist with wildlife. Jackie writes columns for the Canberra Times, Australian Women’s Weekly, Earthgarden Magazine, Australian Wellbeing and Gardening Australia. Her garden rambles over about 4 hectares, and there is never a time when there aren't basketful of many kinds of fruit to pick.

    Books by Jackie French

    COMMENTS

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *