Author and illustrator Kate Pankhurst, a descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, brought history’s most incredible women to life with drawing, doodling, dressing up and inspirational words of encouragement! Bethany Park was there to find out more.

From the fly high tales of Amelia Earhart to the bold and vibrant paintings of Frida Kahlo, Kate  discussed some of her favourite strong female role models. She provided families with an exciting sneak peek into her book, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World.

“The stories in the book are outstanding tales of bravery, adventure, and about standing up and doing the right thing,” said Kate. “I couldn’t quite believe that they were true, and they actually happened!”

The event was full of laughter, and tales of bravery and courage from Kate. Volunteers had an exciting chance to dress up as some of the fantastically great women. With exotic flower crowns, aviator jackets and even monobrows available, it appeared that no dress-up items were off the table.

But where did the inspiration come from to write this brilliant book?

“The main reason for doing the book is that I wanted to share these amazing stories that are perhaps not that well known, and I was excited to do a book that is just about women,” said Kate. “Today we live in a world where boys and girls can do anything they want, but that wasn’t always the case. It used to be quite difficult for women to follow their dreams, ambitions and talents.”

Her own love of books and incredible stories came from long visits to the library as a young child herself; a place that she argues should remain an important part of modern society.

“I love libraries, and my dad was a lifelong library user,” she said. “My dad used to take me to the library in my home town on the weekend, so I could get out loads of books. I didn’t realise it at the time, but all of the books I read had fed into my imagination and they hid themselves away, but they’re coming out now and giving me lots of new ideas.”

But despite having a long love of books and stories, Kate also has many other creative talents up her sleeve.

“I actually started my career as an illustrator, and I illustrated lots of books by many authors. One was even called The World’s Biggest Bogey! I always dreamed that one day I would write my own.”

What can everyone take away from her own book? Kate said that most importantly, kids should “go away feeling inspired that they can change the world”. And unlike many people who may believe that changing the world is all about “becoming the prime minister”, Pankhurst says that “changing the world can also just be about making the most of your talents, and following your dreams for the future”.


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