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The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure Hardcover – Illustrated, March 1, 2016

4.6 out of 5 stars 211 ratings

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Editorial Reviews


"Caroline Paul’s inspiring and sometimes astonishing stories of the adventures that she and other great women have undertaken, alongside Wendy MacNaughton’s beautiful illustrations, make The Gutsy Girl the book of the year for daredevils, doers, and dreamers of all ages." ―Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild

"The perfect book for young feminists, or really any woman who needs a dose of inspiration in her life . . . Viva la
Gutsy Girl!" ―Buzzfeed

"Part high-energy how-to guide, part hilarious memoir, and part interactive adventure journal designed to help girls of all ages build confidence, pluck, and bravery by venturing outside."
―Outside Magazine

"Paul encourages readers--girls, specifically--to pursue lives of excitement in a book that blends elements of memoir, guidebook, and journal." ―
Publishers Weekly

"Delightful . . . There’s a lot here that will thrill any girl--or boy--of any age
." San Francisco Chronicle

"If Pippi Longstocking and Sheryl Sandberg got together and penned a book for tween girls, this brilliantly written and illustrated gem would be it." ―

"An incredible book for raising ‘gutsy’ girls and a must-read for adventurous women . . . Paul’s book will convince any woman that she, too, is destined for a life of epic adventure--whether it’s in the woods or in the boardroom." ―

"A must for inspiring girls of all ages--young and young at heart." ―
Stanford Magazine

"Paul's exuberant prose is made even better by Wendy MacNaughton's charming illustrations, which help place us in the adrenaline-fueled scenes . . . An adventure tome, field manual, journal, and self-help book all in one, Gutsy makes an excellent gift for girls graduating elementary school, though it's a good read for anyone. The book aims to help young women widen their comfort zone, face fear, and manage insecurity." -

Lost Cat] is revelatory . . . it moves easily and hilariously from one sentence and chapter to the next . . . it's ingeniously crafted . . . a fiercely charming narrative that sneaks up on a reader, just as the best fantastical books do . . . Lost Cat is an incredibly endearing work, a snapshot of the madness of loving and agonizing over and chasing after animals.” ―Jillian Steinhauer, The Los Angeles Review of Books, on LOST CAT

“An uncommonly charming and wise tale.” ―Alexis Madrigal,
The Atlantic, on LOST CAT

“This playful, quirky book is like a cat that climbs into your lap and purrs; it's impossible not to love it.” ―Gayle Brandeis,
San Francisco Chronicle, on LOST CAT

“A tender, imaginative memoir infused with equal parts humor and humanity . . . an absolute treat from cover to cover.” ―Maria Popova,
Brain Pickings, on LOST CAT

About the Author

Caroline Paul is the author of You Are Mighty, a young person's guide to changing the world, and Lost Cat, A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, as well as the memoir Fighting Fire and the novel East Wind, Rain. She is a longtime member of the San Francisco Writers' Grotto. Wendy MacNaughton is a New York Times bestselling illustrator whose books include Lost Cat, Pen & Ink, Knives & Ink, and Meanwhile in San Francisco. They live in San Francisco.
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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bloomsbury USA; Illustrated edition (March 1, 2016)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 160 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1632861232
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1632861238
  • Reading age ‏ : ‎ 8+ years, from customers
  • Grade level ‏ : ‎ 4 - 7
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 14.6 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.41 x 0.96 x 8.56 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.6 out of 5 stars 211 ratings

About the author

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I grew up in New England, with an identical twin, a younger brother, and a menagerie of animals. I did some goofy things as an adolescent: I learned all the constellations in the Western Hemisphere; I tried to set the Guinness World Record for crawling; I built a boat out of milk cartons, then convinced my twin and two friends to join me on the river, then waded to shore with them when it broke up in the first rapid. These adventures and more are part of my latest book, The Gutsy Girl: Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure, written especially for 7-12 year-old girls.

I graduated from Stanford University, where I studied Communications. At the time I had a vague idea that perhaps I would become a documentary filmmaker. Instead, in 1989, I became a San Francisco firefighter.

I wrote about my thirteen and a half year career in Fighting Fire, an updated version of which came out in 2011. I'd tell you about those years, but really, you should just read the book. I will only say that being in a fire made me happy, and doing emergency medical work intrigued me. All of it made me a better person.

The most remote place I've been is Siberia, where I saw a Unidentified Flying Object that may or may not have been the Soviet military. The highest place I've been was on a mountain bike in the Bolivian Alps back when mountain bikes were scarce and 15,000 feet didn't hurt as much as it would now. The most isolated I've ever felt was in a blizzard on the mountain of Denali, where we had to stay in the tent and pee into a Gatorade bottle.

My novel East Wind, Rain came out in 2006. It is based closely on the little known but true story some call "the battle of Niihau," that begins when a Japanese pilot who has just attacked Pearl Harbor is forced to crash land on an isolated Hawaiian island. The inhabitants there have no communication with the outside world, and are puzzled by his sudden, dramatic arrival. The book follows the next seven days, as the seemingly mysterious event divides the villagers and disrupts a once peaceful paradise. "When it's over, you don't want to leave," said the New York Times.

In 2013 my third book, Lost Cat, A True Story of Love, Desperation, and GPS Technology, was published. It's about my obsessive to search to figure out where my cat journeyed when I was not around and entailed GPS tracking, video, psychics and animal communicators. Despite the title, it's really about how lost humans can become, and the animals that help them regain their bearings. Lost Cat was named a Best Book by Jezebel and by the influential website Brainpickings.

For years I was mistaken for my identical twin, Alexandra Paul. That would ordinarily be unremarkable, except that Alexandra is an actress with a long and storied career, and her face (and thus mine) is recognized all over the world. The ensuing confusion, absurdity, and hilarity is captured in the essay Almost Her:The Strange Dilemma of Being Nearly Famous. Published as a small booklet, Almost Her explores the science of twins, the allure of being identical, and the strange world of fame in America.

In 2016 I published The Gutsy Girl:Escapades for Your Life of Epic Adventure. Part memoir, part how-to adventure guide, this book for 7-12 year-olds is best described as Lean in for girls, set not in a boardroom, but in trees, on cliff edges and down wild rivers (and boys should read this too, so they grow up knowing that girls are gutsy too.) Bonus: it's illustrated by the amazing Wendy MacNaughton! I wrote this book because I believe that girls aren't encouraged to be brave, and so miss out on the things that adventure teaches so well: resilience, self-confidence, courage, teamwork, and decision-making. The Gutsy Girl was a New York Times bestseller.

You Are Mighty: A Guide to Changing the World came out in 2018 and was written for kids with a fierce sense of justice, a good sense of humor, and a big heart. The book empowers middle graders to turn their sense of right and wrong into real life activism and features change maker tips, DIY activities, and stories of kids who have changed the world.

Writing never happens in a vaccuum. I've been part of the San Francisco Writers Grotto since 1999; without that community I would have quit this strange career, or gone insane, years ago. I'm also constantly inspired by my kickass siblings: my identical twin is the accomplished actress Alexandra Paul and my brother is the righteous animal rights activist Jonathan Paul.

In my free time, I fly an experimental plane. I read books. I go to movies. I surf (badly.) Much of this is done around San Francisco, where I live with my partner, the artist Wendy MacNaughton, two shelter cats, one shelter dog, an array of solar panels, and countless unread back issues of the New Yorker.

Customer reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5
211 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on March 18, 2016
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5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome book for girls and grown women too
By Sarah S. Harbin on March 17, 2016
I originally bought several copies of this book for gifts for most of the girls that I know. Then I read the whole thing, cover to cover in one night because I could not put it down, and had to go get several more copies for all the adult women that I know too. Pretty sure I have bought at least 10 of these for girls and women of all ages. I wish I could go back in time and read this when I was about 10 years old. It's fun, it's clever, it's super encouraging while also being honest and self-deprecating at times. Caroline weaves in great stories from her own life with inventive ideas for ways to live your life with courage and an eye for adventure. There are also little illustrated factoids about amazing women throughout history sprinkled through the book. The illustrations are charming and witty and add an extra depth to the book that will make it a keepsake for many readers.
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Top reviews from other countries

Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Every girl should have this in her back pocket!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on April 4, 2019
Julie Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 11, 2017
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on September 8, 2017
Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good motivation for young teens.
Reviewed in Canada 🇨🇦 on April 22, 2016
3 people found this helpful
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Cliente de Amazon
5.0 out of 5 stars Muy lindo
Reviewed in Mexico 🇲🇽 on September 19, 2020