HEADLINER

Publication Date 04 March 2022

Children's Books

BORN AS A GIRL

A non-fiction children’s book about the inequalities and the violence to which girls around the world are subjected.

In Naître fille ("Born as a Girl") five adolescent girls tell of the inequalities they experience simply because they are girls. But luckily, they learn to defend themselves! An engaged work, full of courage, hope and humour, written and illustrated by the young feminist graphic artist Alice Dussutour.

Kaneila lives in Nepal where menstruation means being impure, so she has to isolate herself in a hut for one week every month. "The worst is at night. It's cold and I'm really afraid of wild animals. Animals are not the only threat, some men who respect nothing, actually take advantage of the fact that the girls are isolated and vulnerable." But when Kaneila meets a girl who explains to her how the menstrual cycle works, her beliefs are eventually shaken and she decides to pass on this information, "so that no girl is ever in danger or ever ashamed of her body again."

This is one of the stories that Alice Dussutour tells in Naître fille. Through the lives of other girls from France, Afghanistan, Kenya and Mexico, subjects such as femicide, excision, forced marriage or fatphobia are addressed without taboos. "The readers are the age of the book’s heroines and since Alice Dussutour has diverse protagonist it’s easy to identify with them,” explains Natalie Vock-Verley, director of Éditions du Ricochet, for whom this book stands out for its universal appeal.

The 26-year-old author-illustrator did extensive research for each of the stories. In some cases, she contacted local associations to help build her stories and enrich her illustrations. "Alice Dussutour has created an extremely cheerful universe, very zesty, a little girly but which allows her to easily address profound issues. She has a great personality and it was a great pleasure to work with her," says Natalie Vock-Verley. For further information, pages with lists of films, organizations and books related to the different subjects covered have been added at the end.
 
Targeted at readers of all ages, Naître fille quickly became a success in France and in other French-speaking countries with 6,000 copies sold. Already translated into three languages, other international co-editions are planned, to enable other countries to access this book at a more affordable price.
 
Katja Petrovic