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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Remi Courgeon
Age Range: 6-8
“Feather, to build herself up before each match, recited the names of women who had bravely made a place for themselves in the world: Rosa Parks, Marie Curie, Nellie Bly, Anna Lee Fisher, Sally Ride…She always ended with Nina Simone, because she played the piano too.”
In Rémi Courgeon’s book Feather, translated from French to English by Enchanted Lion’s publisher Claudia Zoe Bedrick, Paulina (or Feather, as everyone calls her) remembers these strong women as inspiration to prove herself as powerful to those who belittle her. After getting fed up with having to do her three brothers’ household chores as a result of being beaten by them in physical strength competitions, Paulina subverts all stereotypical expectations for little girls and becomes a boxer, building up strength to win more fights against her brothers and do fewer chores.
Courgeon’s illustrations of Paulina conquering justice in a male-dominated household are mostly on pages surrounded by a white border, indicating that these moments are snapshots of her life—the entire progression of turning from a sister who gets taken advantage of to a tenacious boxer to a girl who is respected. In the same way that Paulina is inspired by powerful women of history, readers of Feather can now turn to Paulina as an inspiration.
Feather is part of the Reading the World: Picture Books and Translation at the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, 2022.
Catherine Hurwitz (March22)