Book Review: The Heroic Female Spirit benefits everyone

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Book signing Saturday, June 24, at Basil Café

Choices. Despite being held back by cultural and traditional barriers, women and girls can make choices to break out of the societal prisons that confine them. They can make their world a better place and liberate others, too.

In direct counterpoint to the typical macho male hero, who, often with violence, goes on his swashbuckling way to achieve some worthy goal, the female heroes in these stories present a refreshing alternative.

As the introduction to Machesney Park author Phyllis K. Peterson’s latest book, The Heroic Female Spirit: A Collection of Tales, states: “The heroes in this collection of stories are not only a departure from old models, they also face issues relevant to the world today such as war, prejudice, and environmental protection. The stories provide positive examples of characters who are actively engaged in improving the world around them.”

The lessons in these stories are in keeping with the principles of the Baha’i faith, of which Peterson is a member. They promote the spiritual qualities that are basic for unity and progress of the whole human race, such as peace, love, equality and generosity.

Following the stories is a section with discussion questions for each tale. These would be ideal for workshop groups that might like to go further in exploring the possibilities for individual action.

Peterson has traveled to other countries, sharing stories about women and girls; she has led workshops and seminars about personal potential. Her previous book, Healing the Wounded Soul, described her own experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

According to Peterson, heroism doesn’t have to be on a grandiose scale; even small acts of kindness or unselfishness can be heroic. By applying the lessons in these inspiring stories, everyone—not just women and girls—can benefit.

Peterson will do a book signing from 2 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 24, at Basil Café, 6500 E. Riverside Blvd., Loves Park. Admission is free. The Heroic Female Spirit is also available from Baha’i Publishing, 415 Linden Ave., Wilmette, IL 60091-2844. Retail price is $14.

From the June 21-27, 2006, issue

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