Mary Hoffman’s new book for Barrington Stoke is about the leaning tower of Pisa. You’d sort of guess that from the title, maybe.
I now know an awful lot more about the tower than I did before. In fact, I have never really known much, and I’ve not been to see it. But it is iconic, and you feel you own the image, knowing it so well from photographs.
While teaching the reader about the tower, Mary provides a truly inspiring story about a young girl in Pisa, who wants what was unthinkable back in the 13th century. Netta’s father is a sculptor and stone-carver and it is his task to work out what to do to stop the tower from leaning so much, and to prevent things from getting worse.
Netta finds this fascinating and wants nothing more than to follow in her father’s footsteps. But she’s a girl.
This is great stuff. The background to why the tower leans is really interesting, and Netta is the perfect role model for generations of girls to come. You can have it all. Not that girls should have to want to wash and cook, of course.
It’s made up, but I feel it could have happened exactly like this.