I’ve always had the most respect for Dr Jane Goodall, she’s an incredible role model for working hard for dreams without compromising your values and tirelessly campaigning to protect the animals she respects.
This book is outstanding as it not only tells the life to the present day of Dr Jane Goodall but it is placed within the contexts such as the Second World War, Decolonisation and political insecurities in African States and the rise of interest in conservationist thinking and approaches in zoology.
From returning to her grandmothers home in Bournemouth England with the outbreak of World War II, to waitressing to save up to visit a school friend in Kenya that launches her dreams into reality.
Dr Goodall has both spearheaded and fought to spread the word about more naturalist and less harmful ways to interact with the natural world whilst revolutionising the way we consider, study and care for chimpanzees.
This is how the book doesn’t just glance upon her high points such as being the first to observe how chimpanzees make tools which was groundbreaking, but about her tireless efforts to revolutionise the way animals are treated running rescue and education programmes alongside the core studies but also integrating and supporting the local population by training guides in more sensitive methods and local people in the day to day observations.
Like the Neil Armstrong edition this also considers Jane’s family and relationships but this is quite powerful as the circumstances show particularly how women who choose to have relationships and children do not necessarily have the same freedoms as their male counterparts as we see Jane become a single mother, navigate the logistics of a long distance relationship and then lose her second husband young yet still has a strong vision for her ambitions and works towards them.
This book is also inspirational for that it shows the way this inspired further touching on other important women who were helped by Louis Leakey to observe great apes such as Dian Fossey and Birutė Galdikas, importantly it touches on the murder of Dian Fossey too and how that combined with the abductions from Goodall camp only scrapes the surface of much of the difficulties these scientists faced to pursue their studies.
I have even more respect for Jane Goodall after reading this book, and I recommend it to all young readers but especially children who think their circumstances exclude them from achieving their dreams, whilst things were slightly different in the 1950s and 60s it’s important to remember that Jane was a young girl who worked hard to pay a passage to Africa with no degree at that point, who did everything possible, even scary things, groundbreaking thinking and contemporarily controversial observance techniques to achieve her dream of observing animals in the wild. She’s an inspiration.
Trailblazers: Jane Goodall A Life With Chimps by Anita Ganeri illustrators: Luisa Uribe, George Ermos and Keiron Ward is published by Stripes Books.
Thank you for my copy 💜