Simone de Beauvoir by Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara, illustrated by Christine Roussey

Biographies for younger children are few and far between so it’s good to see some new books in the Little People, Big Dreams series, especially as they expand the range of people usually considered interesting for children to read about. The new titles describe the lives of author L. M. Montgomery, scientist Jane Goodall and, perhaps most unusually for this age group, philosopher, writer and feminist Simone de Beauvoir. It’s not easy to distil and summarise her life in a way that is appealing and understandable for children but Maria Isabel Sánchez Vegara has managed it very skilfully (I was going to say masterfully but that doesn’t seem the right word in this context!). For example, her relationship with Jean-Paul Sartre is described thus: ‘He was not just her soulmate, he was her mind-mate, too!’. Ultimately, though, this influential thinker is given due credit for being ‘the mother of feminism’ and for arguing that ‘we’re not born men or women – just special human beings with a life full of choices to make.’

Lincoln Children’s Books 9781786032935