Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women The Right To Vote (Kirsten Gillibrand)

Hello, friends! Our book today is Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women The Right To Vote, written by Kirsten Gillibrand and illustrated by Maira Kalman, a celebration of ten notable figures in the women’s suffrage movement.

Beginning with an introduction to strong female influences in Senator Gillibrand’s (D-NY) family, the focus shifts to women of the American suffrage movement who inspired them to pursue gender equality. Each woman is given a stunningly-illustrated portrait on one page with a brief yet detailed biography of their life, influences, and accomplishments on the opposite, focusing primarily on the work they did for women’s suffrage but sure to include other aspects of their legacy (imperative for figures like Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth). Familiar faces like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Staton are present, as well as perhaps lesser-known icons like Inez Millholland and Jovita Idár. At last, the book celebrates the passing of the 19th amendment in 1920 then jumps forward to the landmark Women’s March of 2017, showing that while the fight continues, its fighters are legion, and indefatigable.

Awesome. Giving a fantastic overview of ten women who should be household names for everyone, each woman is brought to life in brief yet impactful style. Gillibrand does a fair job of balancing her subjects’ backgrounds and unique challenges, and even honestly points out that there were plenty of women then (and unfortunately, today as well), who attempted to exclude racial minorities from the movement. Yet as good as the text and structure are, it’s Kalman’s art that shines brightest, with bold colors, striking portraits, and a general sense of feminine, feminist pride on every page. The length may be better for slightly older bookworms, but JJ was so enthralled by the art that she happily sat through to the end. A gorgeous and stirring reminder of those who fought for women’s voices, and what we owe their sacrifice. Baby Bookworm approved!

Miss Paul And The President: The Creative Campaign For Women’s Right To Vote (Dean Robbins)

Hello, friends! Today, we read Miss Paul And The President: The Creative Campaign For Women’s Right To Vote, written by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Nancy Zhang, a biography that tells the abbreviated story of Alice Paul, noted suffragist and women’s rights activist, and her unconventional methods for raising support for women’s right to vote.

The day that President Woodrow Wilson arrives in Washington DC to take office, he is expecting huge crowds to greet him. However, as he exits his train, he is shocked to find no one! Instead, spectators have been drawn, either to cheer or boo, Alice Paul’s parade for women’s suffrage – intentionally scheduled for the very same day and time. A passionate suffragist from a young age, Paul is not above a bit of mischief-making and boldness to make herself heard. She organizes letter-writing campaigns, protests, and even a meeting with the president, who dismisses her by saying he has “more important issues.” But Alice Paul refuses to quit or be silenced, and eventually, President Wilson finds that he can no longer turn a deaf ear to the cries for suffrage.

We had a mostly positive impression of this one. Alice is depicted as a passionate, convicted and wiley political force for women’s rights, and she and her story are a great example for young readers. The illustrations are gorgeous, full of life, color, and personality. The length is fine, and JJ really enjoyed it. However, I was disappointed that more focus was not given to Margaret Wilson, President Wilson’s daughter. When the President refuses to read the many letters he receives from Paul’s campaigns, Margaret reads them instead. When Paul is arrested for protesting, it’s Margaret Wilson to stand up to Woodrow and proclaim “Votes for Women.” While Wilson makes the final play for suffrage, it’s Margaret who spurs him there. Perhaps this one should have been titled Miss Paul And The President’s Daughter instead. Still, a lovely book about a wonderful female role model, and definitely Baby Bookworm approved!