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Lightning Mary by Anthea Simmons

Updated: Mar 1, 2023


An inspirational and intriguing insight into the life of Mary Anning – the 19th century fossil finder who defied convention and gender roles to pursue her dreams and talents of becoming a pioneering palaeontologist.

Set against the backdrop of the iconic cliffs of the Jurassic Coast, Anthea Simmons skilfully unravels the childhood of one of history’s most fascinating figures. Not only braving the dangerous landslips and storms of the coast but also the prejudice and poverty that came with her gender and class (being born both poor and a girl), young Mary bravely faces tragedy and despair in the face in order to fulfil her dream of becoming a scientist, but what will happen when she makes the greatest discovery of all…


Exploring themes of women in scientific positions and tackling bigger issues like science versus faith and religion, Lightning Mary takes you on a riveting and exciting tale of adventure and curiosity whilst also making for a great conversational approach for parents and their children. Simmons has given an unforgettably distinctive and fiery voice to the unsung hero, whose passion and determination to follow her dreams will inspire both readers young and old.


Accompanied with a factual section at the end about Mary’s life and work, with drawings and descriptions of the famous fossils she collected, this makes for a fascinating text for both enjoyment and learning.


Excuse me while I go and book a fossil-hunting trip to Lyme Regis!




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