Ming & Flo Fight for the Future, by Jackie French
This story for middlegrade readers is empowering and captivating, showing young readers that girls can do anything! The author, Jackie French, is a prolific and much-loved author of children's books, with a particular focus on historical fiction.
This story starts with twelve-year-old Ming sitting in history class feeling uninspired, and wondering why girls are rarely mentioned in the history books. Things really get a shake-up when time freezes and Herstory comes along to magic Ming back in time to 1898, to provide a glimpse of how things really were for women back then. Ming finds herself living a harsh life on a farm as Flo Watson.
Fortunately, Flo's wealthy Aunt McTavish rescues Ming from the draught-stricken farm and introduces her to the Louisa Lawson's Suffragist Society, who are fighting for women's rights. Will Ming find a way to help make a difference before her time in 1898 is up?
This is the perfect book choice for young readers who are interested in Australian history. I love that this story shines a light on the largely unrecognised work girls and women contributed towards founding our nation - not to mention the hard physical work many women performed keeping farms running while the men were away for long periods of time.
I particularly enjoyed the descriptive writing, which effectively transports us to the heart of life in the late 1800's. The sights, sounds and smells of this time period are effectively evoked through the vivid descriptions (I mean, imagine having creamed brains served up to you at mealtimes!)
Ming is a wonderful protagonist - courageous, smart and kind - always looking to help and empower others. I also grew fond of the brusque but kind Aunt McTavish, and of course the affable courageous Emily. And who could overlook Bob the adorable and curious dingo pup!
The story leaves us on a cliff-hanger as Ming and her brother are flung off to another period of history - I look forward to reading book two in this series about girls who changed the world!
Curious young readers might be interested in researching more about women in history and the suffragette movement after reading this book.
Recommended for your 10+ reader.
I read this book as part of a readalong hosted by Tandem Collective Global. I really enjoyed reading as part of a group and thank Tandem and Harper Collins for my gifted copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.
Published by Harper Collins Australia.