Books, feminism, Film

Book review: Lights! Camera! Alice! by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo

Women have often been overlooked or miscredited in the film industry and it’s high time they were recognised for their work, especially when it comes to the early years of cinema. Fortunately Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker* seeks to rectify that.

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

You may not know that I’m something of a film geek. I studied film for six years and my dissertation was on female directors, more specifically their lack of recognition by the Academy Awards (don’t get me started!), so it’s no surprise that I jumped at the chance to review this book.

Written for five-to-eight year olds by Mara Rockliff, and with full-colour illustrations throughout by Simona Ciraolo, Lights! Camera! Alice! is a wonderful introduction to the world of cinema for young readers.

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

Alice Guy-Blache was one of the first people to tell stories using film but it was only recently that she was credited for her work. This ‘story’ charts her storytelling journey from bookworm, to first job with a camera production company, to telling her first story on camera and making hundreds of films.

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

As well as an important lesson in film history, Lights! Camera! Alice! is also a wonderfully constructed book, with silent movie-esque title cards introducing different elements of the story (fun fact: these are all titles of Alice’s own films) and a credits section at the end. I loved these added elements.

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

Lights! Camera! Alice! The Thrilling True Adventures of the First Woman Filmmaker by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo - review

The book reminded me of another recent release from Abrams + Chronicle, about the life and career of Elizabeth Warren. It makes reference to positive themes in similar books about inspiring women, such as combining a career with raising a family, having a strong work ethic, determination, perseverance and gender battles. A great addition to any young bookworm’s shelves.

Buy it on Amazon

*I was sent a copy of this book for review purposes but all thoughts are my own

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2 thoughts on “Book review: Lights! Camera! Alice! by Mara Rockliff and Simona Ciraolo”

  1. This looks like a great read, I love that there is such a range of children’s book out there that focus on women – I am trying to create a collection for my daughter so will add this to my list.

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