As the mother of three daughters, I know all too well the value of encouraging and supporting independence—even when I only want to hold the girls’ hands and keep them safe forever. When I was asked to read and review Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder, by children’s literature professor Dr. Martha M. Harrison, I was excited to share the children’s book. What did the girls and I think of Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder?
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for use in our review. All opinions are my own.
A Quick Summary of Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder. The first book in Dr. Martha M. Harrison’s six book series introduces readers to Lady Emma. Lady Emma in her Land of Wonder follows Lady Emma through “wonders, blunders, and she sometimes falls all asunder” as she journeys through an exquisitely illustrated fantasyland populated by dragons, trolls, and the usual everyday annoyances and obstacles of the enchanted forest. Lady Emma is a series of fantastic adventures that don’t always turn out fantastically, but she has two secret weapons: the gentle guidance of her father who protects her from a distance and her indomitable spirit of self-reliance. Ultimately, she must find herself to find her dream. Harrison relates real world ups and downs in a fairy tale world. Lady Emma illustrates that even princesses have bad days and ups and downs. Even a princess must sometimes rely on her internal strengths and skills to solve her day to day problems.
Girls don’t always need a White Knight. Girls need to know that they are strong enough, smart enough, and capable of problem-solving and self-rescue. I think this lesson is especially important to young girls developing self-esteem and self-reliance—and maybe even for older girls and women as well. Relying solely on a strong male counterpart to save the day may not always be the solution—or even a readily available option. Harrison creates a loving support network for Lady Emma—a network that provides Lady Emma with the confidence and abilities to accept help when needed, but stand on her own when necessary.
Would I recommend Lady Emma in Her Land of Wonder? I loved this book for my girls—and it gave me a few good reminders for myself too! (It’s funny how a children’s book can resonate with adults as well!) I think anyone raising either sons or daughters to feel both safe and secure—but, also feel confident enough to battle their own “dragons”, so to speak, will love the messages in the book. I look forward to other books in this series.
About the Author:
Dr. Martha M. Harrison’s previous books have all had an academic focus on language play, reading, children’s books and the integration of the arts across the curriculum. She has trained over 2000 teachers in teaching reading and writing to children and young adults in grades K-12 and served as a designer of reading and writing curriculum and assessments for the State Departments of Education in Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida and California. For the past two decades, her passion for literacy has guided her teaching of children’s and young adult literature and her successful authoring and implementation of reading and writing curriculum in education.
She is a member of the Association of Children’s Literature (AChL) and the International Reading Association (IRA). Her scholarly articles have been published in Florida English Journal, a scholarly journal of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE); The New Advocate, a scholarly journal For Those Involved with Young People and Their Literature; and the National Education Association Library Series (NEA). She has conducted numerous workshops on comparing the works of Maurice Sendak and Theodor S. Geisel, “Dr. Seuss”. She is currently teaching a course on Arts Integration Across the Curriculum at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont, California near San Francisco.
Among her many scholarly publications is an early 1990 article entitled Teaching Thinking Skills to Gifted Children Using Children’s Literature and The Arts. Dr. Harrison is recognized as one of the leaders in children’s literacy and has written curriculum for school districts in Florida, Tennessee, Mississippi and California. Her expertise and experience gave her the tools to create a character that will resonate with both parents and children.