“Miss Rumphius” by Barbara Cooney

book cover

Recommended to me by: Cathy, who mailed me her copy in this time of social distancing

This children’s book with delicate, detailed, delightful illustrations follows Miss Alice Rumphius through her adventurous life, encounter with disability, and the achievement of her life goal to do something to make the world more beautiful.

Young Alice says to her grandfather, “When I grow up, I too will go to faraway places, and when I grow old, I too will live beside the sea.” Her grandfather never doubts her.

It’s wonderful to see a story take for granted that a single, independent woman can move forward with courage and determination to achieve her goals, which do not include marriage and children. It’s wonderful that the story shows her in middle age and old age, not just as a young woman. An injury keeps in her in bed for a while, and she uses a cane, all as part of the matter-of-fact flow of the story.

Miss Rumphius is white. She befriends people of color in other countries. My only disappointment with the book is that the children visiting her at the end of the book are all white.

Highly recommended! Be sure to spend some time with the details of the illustrations.

From the Powell’s listing, About the Author:
Like Miss Rumphius, the late Barbara Cooney traveled the world, lived in a house by the sea in Maine, and, through her art, made the world more beautiful.

Available at Powell’s Books.

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