The Girls Who Changed the World #1: Ming and Flo Fight for the Future

Twelve-year-old Ming Qong has noticed something alarming! According to the history books she’s been reading in school, girls haven’t really played a part in changing the future. But that can’t be right; girls must have changed the world! Ming, like most of us, would like to know why there are so few accounts of the women throughout history who changed the world. 

So, when Herstory appears and casts Ming back into 1898 rural NSW with the help of a few magical Time drops, Ming is in for a whirlwind adventure. She takes over the life and body of Flo Watson, a young girl living a tough life on a drought-ridden farm. When tragedy strikes, Flo is rescued by her wealthy Aunt McTavish and taken to live in Sydney. Ming learns a great deal about how young girls were treated and even more about how ethnic minorities were perceived. She also learns that early “Australia” was not as whitewashed as the history books would have us believe. Ming’s journey back in time takes her to the heart of the movement to federate the Australian states and give women the vote. Ming is determined to get involved, to make a difference. But change is never easy. So, how can one girl change the world?

The Girls Who Changed the World #1: Ming and Flo Fight for the Future is an empowering and exhilarating look at the girls who went before us and the way they shaped the world.

From one of Australia’s favourite writers – the magnificent Jackie French – comes an inspiring new series for all the young people who will, one daychange the world. With books such as Pennies for Hitler, A Waltz for Matilda and last year’s Night Ride Into Danger, French once again reminds us why she is the queen of realistic historical fiction. She has an enviable knack for presenting the less savoury parts of history – such as poverty, oppression, and exploitation – in bite-sized pieces that younger readers can easily swallow.

French, through her protagonist, asks the critical questions that we should all be asking: Where are the women in the history books? Where are our First Nations people? Why is it that the wealthy white men get to dictate our history? Who is fighting for change? In her elegant, non-confrontational way, French is doing just that.

The historically accurate details, inclusive cast of characters and acknowledgement of our poorly recorded history make this the kind of book parents and teachers want their children to read, while the powerhouse protagonist and her gung-ho adventures make Ming’s story a book children want to read. Luckily, the next book in the series, The Girls Who Changed the World #2, Ming and Marie and the Spies Who Fought for Freedom, is due for release in September 2022, so fans won’t have long to wait for the next instalment. 

This review was originally posted on Reading Time. This book was gifted to me by The Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Reading Time in exchange for an honest review


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