Brave Jane Austen
Reader, Writer, Author, Rebel

Now available

A picture-book biography of the groundbreaking English novelist. 

Born in the late 1700s, Jane Austen was a smart, creative girl in a house full of boys, all of whom could aspire to accomplish many things as adults while girls were raised primarily to become good wives. Jane didn’t have much opportunity to go to school but she read everything she could, including the books in her father’s study. And before long, she began to write her own stories, filled with funny, clever, and inventive characters.

Today, Austen’s novels — including Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, and Emma — are widely read around the world. She’s recognized as one of the most important and influential writers of all time.

A Junior Library Guild selection

Starred Review Booklist “Pliscou points out how very revolutionary Austen was as a forerunner to all female writers who came after. . . . This thoughtful book would surely have pleased Austen . . . Beautifully crafted.” —Booklist, starred review

“The life of Jane Austen . . . unfolds in this cozy, pastoral story. . . . A tender portrayal of an author whose ordinary circumstances led to an extraordinary legacy.” ―Publishers Weekly

“Pliscou paints a vivid picture of the world Jane was born into, from the physical environment of home and village to the strictures on women’s accomplishments and experiences. . . . An appealing, lively portrait.” ―Kirkus Reviews

“Introducing children not far beyond primary school to the life and works of Jane Austen seems, at first glance, challenging at best. Pliscou, however, presents a neatly balanced biography that skillfully contextualizes just how remarkable Austen’s hard-won status as a published author was for her time. Younger listeners and older readers are introduced to Austen as a young aspiring writer (supported by her progressive-leaning parents) who had a clear-eyed, tartly humorous take on her circumscribed society and who looked marriage customs in the face and determined that she would follow her fictional heroines’ advice and refuse to marry “without Affection.” Thus Pliscou (also the author of the longer work Young Jane Austen) places her Austen biography squarely in the tradition of picture-book coverage of other forward-thinking women, from adventurers to suffragists, and introduces themes from Austen’s novels that can germinate until readers are old enough to tackle the originals. Text and back matter . . . are fluid and engaging, and aptly selected quotes from Austen and her admirers succinctly capture her enduring appeal.”
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Lovely, lyrical, perfect . . . A treat for adult Austen fans, and a wonderful introduction to Jane Austen for young readers.” —The Buffalo News

“In this engaging picture book biography, Pliscou emphasizes young Jane Austen’s power through a refrain: she ‘watched, listened, thought.’ . . . Page by page, the author’s sharply observed girlhood stories evolve into ‘funny, thoughtful’ novels. An eye-catching primer for appreciating literature and a remarkable woman.” ―School Library Journal

“Jane Austen is the pinnacle to which all authors aspire.”―J. K. Rowling