Skip to main content

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Hadley Hooper

It feels right on this day when we could elect our first woman president to post a review of a book about two women who, 100 years ago exactly, spent five months driving around America - 10,000 miles! - crusading for women's voting rights. Using newspaper articles about the women and their journey, Mara Rockliff tells their story (fact checking when necessary) with illustrations by Hadley Hooper that combine pencil drawing and printmaking with a largely yellow palette (the color that stood for Votes for Women) that is dynamic and engaging, making Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles a highly readable book.

In fact, Around America to Win the Vote is such a fun read that I almost forgot the serious nature of the what Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out to do when the drove off from New York City in their "little runabout" made by the Saxon Car Company. However, this also reminded me of one of the great things about narrative non-fiction picture books and how they can hook readers and spur them onto further reading and research. By the time Nell and Alice arrived to a grand welcome back in New York City, I was ready to get to the author's notes, which were equally fascinating.

Rockliff's narrative focuses mostly on the journey itself, and the many ruts and rivers the Saxon seemed to get stuck in. The women brought a typewriter and a sewing machine with them, bringing them out at rallies to show that they had the brains to vote (Nell would write a poem, proving they did) and that they could take care of domestic duties AND play a part in running the nation (Nell would sew an apron while Alice gave a speech.) In places where men didn't want to hear about votes for women, Alice and Nell would instead discuss the inner workings of their car. Part of Rockliff's historical notes put into context the significance of driving a car across the country - and back - in 1916, just thirteen years after the first successful cross-country trip (which did not include the return trip.) In her back matter, Winning the Vote, Rockliff starts in 1776 with a letter from Abigail to John Adams asking him to "remember the ladies," to which he laughed, going on to sign the Declaration of Independence, stating that "all men are created equal." Rockliff also shares fascinating facts about protests women staged in 1916, including a "walkless parade" in St. Louis that left men on their way to the Democratic convention forced to pass between the eight thousand, silent suffragists lining the streets for a mile on both sides. 

Also by Mara Rockliff:

Also by Hadley Hooper:

Source: Review Copy


Popular posts from this blog

POP-UP: Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book, paper engineering by Ruth Wickings, illustrations by Frances Castle RL: All ages

POP-UP:  Everything You Need to Know to Create Your Own Pop-Up Book with paper engineering by Ruth Wickings and illustrations by Frances Castle is THE COOLEST BOOK EVER!!!  I know that I haven't dedicated much time to pop-up books here, but they have always held a special place in my heart, and the phrase "paper engineering" is a favorite of mine. Although I didn't know what it was at the time, I did go through a paper engineering phase when I was ten or so. I would sneak off to the back of the classroom during independent work periods and go to town on the construction paper and glue and make these little free-standing dioramas. A huge fan of The Muppet Show (the original), I reconstructed the all-baby orchestra from an episode, drawing and coloring each baby and his/her instrument then gluing them onto a 3D orchestra section I had crafted out of brown construction paper.  I also made a 3D version of Snidely Whiplash throwing Nell off a cliff with Dudley Do-Right wa…

Made by Dad: 67 Blueprints for Making Cool Stuff - Projects You Can Build For (and With) Kids! by Scott Bedford

On his personal website, Scott Bedforddescribes himself as an "Award Winning Online Creative Professional" working within the advertising and design industry. What is more interesting (and applicable here) is how hisWhat I Made website came to be. While sitting in a Starbucks with his restless young sons, trying to enjoy his latte, Bedford created something out of coffee stir sticks that ended up keeping his boys entertained, finishing his coffee in peace and sparking (re-sparking, really) his creative drive and reminding him of the "enormous joy gained from making things, even simple things, and that this joy is not the complexity or quality of the finished project but in the process of making itself. On Bedford'sWhat I Made website, he even shares Six Cool Coffee Shop Crafts for Kidsthat you can try out next time you want to enjoy your coffee and your kids are making that difficult. I've shared two below - be sure to check out the website and see the rest!


The Seeing Stick, written by Jane Yolen, illustrated by Daniela J Terrazini

The Seeing Stick is an original Chinese fairy tale written by the prolific (and prolifically award winning) Jane Yolen. First published in 1977 with illustrations by Remy Charlip (author and illustrator of the brilliantly fun picture book Fortunately and friend and muse to Brian Selznick, who asked him to pose as George Méliès while he was working on the Caldecott winning The Invention of Hugo CabretThe Seeing Stick was reissued with new illustrations by Daniela J. Terrazini in 2009. I have not seen Charlip's version, but Terrazini's is a beautiful work of art and the book itself is yet another magnificently packaged book published by Running Press, the house that brought us Steven Arntson's The Wikkeling, yet another superbly and uniquely packaged children's book with artwork by Terrazini. Interestingly, both The Wikkeling and The Seeing Stick were designed by Frances J Soo Ping Chow.

The Seeing Stick begins, "Once in the ancient walled citadel of Peking there l…