Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall takes the reader back to the beginning, when she was young growing up with her mother, father, and sister Judy during the turmoil of World War II.  As a result of the war, her father was away fighting, and she and her sister along with her mother relocated to Bournemouth.  Throughout her childhood, Jane explored and practiced scientific observation with dedication.  Growing up in a primarily female household, Jane recalled "I was never, ever told I couldn't do something because I was a girl."

I was interested to learn more while reading about how Jane came to be in Gombe where she made many famous discoveries.  After a friend suggested she meet with Louis Leakey, he hired her as a secretary and quickly realized her potential.  But then came a hurdle.  Jane, who had never been told she couldn't do something because of her gender was told by African officials when seeking permits to conduct observations in Gombe National Park that she could not do so by herself.  Because she was a woman.  Fortunately, her equally impressive mother, Vanne, offered to accompany her to camp.  Her first discovery, that chimpanzees used tools to acquire food, was groundbreaking.  Her simple act of being a woman scientist observing in the field was groundbreaking as well.  She paved the way for other female scientists like Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas.

The final paragraph of the book is inspired and inspiring:
"Jane believes that anyone who loves animals can take that passion and turn it into a path for life.  All animals matter.  All life matters.  And our planet can be changed by one small action at a time.  As Jane has said, "Together we can make the world a better place for all living things.""

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall also earned a place on the list of Finalists for the CYBILS award.  Stay tuned for the announcement of the winner on February 14th.

Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall
Author: Anita Silvey
ISBN: 978-1-4263-1519-0
Published 2015 by National Geographic Society

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