Donna Nebenzahl and Nance Ackerman

Raincoast Books

If there is one book you should give your adolescent dauther this year, this is it. Subtitled, “Faces of Change Around the World,” Womankind tells the story of 45 extraordinary human beings who happen to be women. Montreal writer Nebenzahl invites the reader first to “Look at the photograph, study the woman’s face and her surroundings, then read the story of her journey to this place where we have all met…” The women in Ackerman’s evocative – sometimes chilling – black and white photographs look ordinary, but they are not. These women effect change. They advocate for women, for children, for the environment, for the dispossessed, for victims of injustice. The profiles include Helen Caldicott of Australia, Montreal social justice activist Françoise David, Emily Lau in China, Joanna Manning in Toronto, and women from all parts of the global village.

The extraordinary and moving thing about this book is that it is not about victims, although there are survivors. Some of these women have experienced horrific and life-shattering events and courageously used them to change the world. Some come from privileged backgrounds, and just have a deep conviction that “something needs to be done.” This book delivers “advice, experience and hope.” Come to think of it, our sons should read Womankind too. mRb