Nonfiction November, Week 2

It’s time for week 2 of Nonfiction November, which is hosted this week by “What’s Nonfiction?”

This week we are concentrating on book pairings. I find pairing books to be a very challenging exercise, so it took me a while to come up with one. Next year I will be sure to think ahead and make pairings throughout the year.

If you loved “To Speak for the Trees” by Diana Beresford-Kroeger…

From Goodreads:

“When Diana Beresford-Kroeger–whose father was a member of the Anglo-Irish aristocracy and whose mother was an O’Donoghue, one of the stronghold families who carried on the ancient Celtic traditions–was orphaned as a child, she could have been sent to the Magdalene Laundries. Instead, the O’Donoghue elders, most of them scholars and freehold farmers in the Lisheens valley in County Cork, took her under their wing. Diana became the last ward under the Brehon Law. Over the course of three summers, she was taught the ways of the Celtic triad of mind, body and soul. This included the philosophy of healing, the laws of the trees, Brehon wisdom and the Ogham alphabet, all of it rooted in a vision of nature that saw trees and forests as fundamental to human survival and spirituality.”

…then read “Pursuing Giraffe: a 1950s Adventure” by Anne Innis Dagg

From Goodreads:

“In the 1950s, Anne Innis Dagg was a young zoologist with a lifelong love of giraffes and a dream to study them in Africa. Based on her extensive journals and letters home, Pursuing Giraffe vividly chronicles Dagg’s realization of that dream and the year she spent studying and documenting giraffe behaviour. Her memoir captures her youthful enthusiasm for her journeys–from Zanzibar to Victoria Falls to Mount Kilimanjaro–as well as her naïveté about the complex social and political issues in Africa.”

I have connected these books in several different ways. Both women are pioneering scientists, both reside in Canada, and both have a lot to say about sexism in the field of science.

I had the pleasure of interviewing zoologist Anne Innis Dagg, who lives fairly close to me. That interview led to a picture book manuscript that made it all the way to acquisitions but ultimately was rejected. I was disappointed for myself but also for Innis Dagg, whose story had been long ignored.

So I was thrilled when years later a movie called “The Woman who Loves Giraffes” debuted, finally giving Innis Dagg the recognition that she deserves. More recently a picture book about Innis Dagg written by a more famous Canadian writer has been released, which I greeted with mixed feelings (and a few tears).

Innis Dagg also has a more recent memoir called “Smitten by Giraffe”, which is on my TBR list.

I admire both Beresford-Kroeger and Innis Dagg for their groundbreaking studies and feminist activism, and I recommend that you read about both.

Have you read either book? Do you have a related book you’d like to share? I love to read your comments.

See you next week.

Shoe’s Seeds and Stories
@Copyright 2022 Linda Schueler


5 thoughts on “Nonfiction November, Week 2

  1. Pingback: Nonfiction November, Week 2 – More than Teaching

  2. Jenna @ Falling Letters

    Anne Innis Dagg’s story sounds like a great read! Well, so does To Speak for the Trees, haha, but whereas I have spent some time in County Cork, I can only imagine what it would be like to study giraffes in Africa in the fifties. Always nice to hear about Canadian women as well 🙂


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