Extraordinary Girls

Extraordinary Girls

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By: Maya Ajmera, Olateju Omolodun and Sarah Strunk

Extraordinary Girls celebrates girlhood with all its joys and challenges. With a spirited foreword by Isabel Carter Stewart, director of Girls Incorporated®, Extraordinary Girls strives to empower girls' attitudes about themselves and their world.

Maya Ajmera, the author of Children from Australia to Zimbabwe and To Be a Kid, joins Sarah Strunk and Olateju Omolodun to introduce girls from all over the world who live extraordinary lives. Extraordinary Girls explores the special talents, relationships, and dreams that make every girl unique. In short chapters focusing on religion, sports, education, friendship, and more, girls from around the world are pictured growing and becoming active and integral members of their communities. Extraordinary Girls tells the stories of a few specific girls who have met and exceeded their dreams at very young ages. Meet Alexandra Nechita of Romania, an unusually gifted painter who had a book of her works published when she was merely eleven years old. Also, meet Aubyn Burnside of the United States, who at the age of eleven rallied together local organizations to collect over 10,000 suitcases to distribute to foster children to help with their moves. These stories, and an inspirational text that paints a glorious portrait of girlhood, are sure to inspire girls of all ages to strive to achieve their highest potential.

A tremendous collection of beautiful photographs works together with the comprehensive text creating a portrayal of girlhood that is as vibrant and active as girls themselves. Contributions from various photographers, including Peace Corps volunteers, adorn each page with brilliant pictures of girls from around the globe.

Look Inside the Book:

Author Bios:

Maya Ajmera, author

Maya Ajmera is the creator and spokesperson for Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey Around the World and co-author of the global education guide, Raising Children to Become Caring Contributors to the World. Maya is the founder and executive director of SHAKTI for Children. In the January 1999 issue of The Chronicle of Philanthropy, Maya was named among "A new guard of non-profit leaders...that will shape the charity world in the next century."

Maya is also the co-author of To Be a Kid and Extraordinary Girls, both brilliantly photographed books that present a picture of global diversity, tolerance, and joy. Maya's books are published in partnership with SHAKTI for Children, and a portion of the proceeds from the sales of her books go to support community-based educational projects for children around the world. It is the mission of SHAKTI for Children to teach children to value diversity and grow into productive, caring citizens of the world.

Read more about Maya.

Olateju Omolodun, author

Olateju Omolodun is a poet, an artistic performer, and Director of the Xanadu Arts Education Project of The Global Fund for Children. She is the coeditor, with Maya Ajmera, of Xanadu: The Imaginary Place. Teju lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Read more about Olateju.

Sarah Strunk, author

Sarah received her bachelor's Degree in Public Policy from Duke University in 1987. She went on to receive her Master of Healthcare Administration with dual concentrations in Finance and Marketing from the School of Public Health at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1991. She recently was appointed Director of Alumni Affairs for the School and Clinical Instructor in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at UNC-Chapel Hill. Prior to that, she was employed at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina for 2 1/2 years as a director in the Corporate Planning and Marketing departments. Previously, she held a variety of strategic and business planning roles at Duke University Medical Center and Bowman Gray/Baptist Hospital Medical Center.

Read more about Sarah.

Awards & Honors:

  • NCSS/CBC Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People
  • National Parenting Center's Seal of Approval
  • Kids' Pick of the Lists
  • Outstanding Selection, Parent Council

Editorial Reviews:

Library Talk

This book features biographical sketches of the achievements of individual girls. This is a self-esteem booster--not primarily straight information--showing esteem related to qualities, achievements, and interests. Achievements include such ordinary demands as caring for younger siblings--an activity within the reach of many girls. The book contains positive adjectives many girls usually would not see as applying to them. Each two-page spread of this oversized book has eight color photos of girls 6-8 years old from around the world, many in costumes unique to their cultural traditions. The spreads, most of which include a girl from the United States, are clustered into chapters with themes such as "Different Ways to Learn," "Making a Difference," "Sports and Play," and "Religion and Spirituality." Two drawbacks of the book are that it is sometimes a bit didactic, and the book is published under the auspices of an organization called "Girls Incorporated, the organization that inspires girls to be strong, smart, and bold." Girls today need this kind of support.

The Horn Book

A celebration of girls from around the world bursts with attractive full-color photos and a text that, by underscoring individuality and uniqueness, emphasizes the traits and potential that girls everywhere share. Each chapter contains a brief collection of affirmative paragraphs and addresses topics like "Religion and Spirituality" and "Friendship," but the material could be more clearly organized. Still, this is a spirited self-esteem booster for girls.

Publishers Weekly

Activists, entrepreneurs, publishers, environmentalists and scientists--the girls of Extraordinary Girls! by Maya Ajmera, Olateju Omolodun and Sarah Strunk make their marks around the world. The authors, only eight years old, apparently belong in the title group. The brief profiles and color photographs illustrate such affirmations as "girls are dynamic" and "girls are loving." Published in association with SHAKTI for Children, a program of the Global Fund for Children.


ISBN: 978-0-88106-065-2

ISBN: 978-0-88106-066-9

Ages: 8-11
Page count: 48

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