‘Amazing Babes’

I LOVE what I do! I was tempted to say ‘my job’, but that makes it sound like work and it’s so much more than that. I get to spend my day with wonderful children who enrich my life in so many ways, dedicated colleagues, AND… I’m surrounded by an amazing, ever growing collection of children’s books. What could be better! When a new delivery of books arrives it’s like opening presents at Christmas. Last Tuesday I opened a box and discovered a new gem. It’s called Amazing Babes and it should have been an omen as this was also the day Michelle Payne etched her name in history and became the first women to win the Melbourne Cup.

amazing  Amazing Babes - Mum Shirl - credit Hilary Walker

Amazing Babes written by Eliza Sarlos is simple yet powerful. It features 20 amazing women who have inspired the author. The book was written as a gift to her son on his birthday after the realisation that there were few books for children that had strong female role models. The 20 world-changing women featured are from around the globe and across generations, many familiar, but a few that were unknown to me. The book concludes with a short bio of each woman and then pays tribute to the wisdom, knowledge, and brilliance of all the women who have come before us, especially our grannies. I never knew my grannies as both my parents lost their mothers when they were very young, but I’d like to pay tribute to the amazing woman who came before me, my beautiful mother who was a loving, hard-working, and resilient woman who showed me that as women we are capable of extraordinary things.

Two of the women featured in Amazing Babes have been in the news in the last week. Hedy Lamarr,  known to me as the very beautiful, glamorous film icon of Hollywood’s Golden Age was the subject of the Google Doodle on Monday as it would have been her 101st birthday. I now know that she was also a brilliant mathematician and inventor. Along with a neighbour George Antheil she helped invent the frequency-hopping spread spectrum, a technology that is used today in Bluetooth devices, Wi-Fi connections and cordless phones.

Hedy  Aung_San_Suu_Kyi

Another inspirational woman  Aung San Suu Kyi, the human rights activist on Monday made history leading the NLD (National League for Democracy) to win a landslide election victory in Myanmar. She spent more than 15 years under house arrest for opposing the brutal military dictatorship that ruled her country. Like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Ghandi, she will be remembered for her strong belief in the power of non-violent protest.

A discussion with a colleague this week also reminded me of another inspirational lady, Janine Shepherd. Janine was a champion cross country skier in training for the 1988 winter Olympics when her life changed forever after being hit by a speeding truck during a training bicycle ride in the Blue Mountains. Although being left a partial paraplegic she defied the odds learning not only to walk again but gaining her license to fly. If you have time I’d recommend watching this TED talk that Janine gave in 2012.

 Keep your eyes peeled for Amazing Babes in our library. It has caused me to reflect on the women who inspire me. Who inspires you? Who would be on your special list and what qualities do they possess?

WARNING! Do NOT try this at home.

Most students in Stage 3 will know that I’m addicted to TED. Last year when we were investigating ways to live more sustainably I shared talks by Ron Finlay who plants food forests in unused lots, medium strips and  footpaths in South Central LA, and by urban designer Mitchell Joachim who showed us how we could potentially grow our own houses using the ancient technique of pleaching or grafting trees together.  My morning routine usually involves a Ted Talk with breakfast.

Last week I watched a fascinating talk by artist Brian Dettmer who digs into a good book (literally, with a knife) to create beautifully intricate forms that reflect how we see old information in a modern world. His sculptures are simply amazing! When discussing the book he commented that… “The book was never the right format for non linear information, which is why we’re seeing reference books becoming the first to be endangered or extinct… People think that now that we have digital technology, the book is going to die, and we are seeing things shifting and things evolving. I think that the book will evolve, and just like people said painting would die when photography and printmaking became everyday material… most of our information, most of our personal and cultural records are in digital form, I think it’s really allowing the book to become something new. ”


Interesting! Personally I couldn’t bear the thought of a world without books. There is something very special about the look, the smell, and the turning of a page that for me can’t be replaced with pixels on a screen.

book sculpture 156-205973-salazar-createbook sculpture 2

What do you think is the future of the book? Can you imagine a time when the book will no longer exist? I’d love to hear what you think.