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(suggested) reading age: 6+
(suggested) interest age: 3-6
Illustrations: Rhiannon Parnis http://www.rhiannonparnis.com/
REVIEW BY LLIO MAI
This is the first book in the new series ‘Enwogion o Fri’ [Welsh Wonders] by the relatively new Broga Press. This is a series that showcases the inspiring lives of some Welsh individuals that may not be so familiar to us. I really welcome this series, and I’m pleased to see an effort to draw the attention of the younger generation to some of Wales' incredible people from the past, and the influence their work has had, and continues to do so, both in this country and beyond.
And who better to focus on in the first volume than Cranogwen, or Sarah Jane Rees to use her real name. Sarah was from Llanrannog, and it was there that her interest in the sea and ships began. While many didn't believe that a ship was a place for a young girl, Sarah didn't want to let that stop her from achieving her dream. She worked hard and went on to learn a great deal more about ships and navigation and then shared her interest and knowledge with others through her work as a teacher.
Sarah also loved poetry, and is the very first woman to win an award for the best poem at the National Eisteddfod! This is quite an achievement and inspirational to a number of women who have come after her. It’s through her poetry that we now know her better as Cranogwen, as this is the name she used as her pseudonym.
She’s one who broke the stereotypes of the day and constantly railed against the prejudices she faced. As stated in the book, Cranogwen did ‘what she wanted to do, not what everyone else thought she should do'. She spent much of her time supporting other women, and that message is very clear at the end of this book.
Cranogwen's inspiring life and work is very well summarised in this picture book by Anni Llŷn, and Rhiannon Parnis's beautiful illustrations help to take us back to her time and imagine her at work.
Cranogwen is someone every child and young person should be aware of. She’s a special example of someone who overcame obstacles to pursue her dreams, and who used her success to help others. Grab yourself a copy - you'll surely be inspired after reading this one, then you’ll be ready to tackle your own dreams! Anything is possible.