Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, written by Kirsten Gillibrand, art by Maira Kalman
Bold & Brave
Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote
Purchased from Barnes & Noble
Gillibrand begins Bold & Brave introducing readers to the bold and brave women in her family who inspired and encouraged her, from her grandmother Polly, who liked to, "roller skate down the long marble hallways of the New York State Capitol, where she worked," to her own mother, who was one of three women in her class at law school and who also earned a black belt in karate as a mom. Gillibrand ends with these moving words,
When my grandmother was born, women didn't have the right to vote. That meant they didn't have the power to elect people who establish our country's rules and laws. Less than a century later, I became a United States senator, which means I help make those laws. Here are ten women who paved the way. They were called suffragists - not because they suffered, although they most certainly did, but because suffrage means "the right to vote." They fought so women could be heard.
Starting with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, the ten brief biographies focus on contributions to the suffrage movement along with important life events and a quote. Kalman's magnificent portraits of each woman include short but powerful words of encouragement.
Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman and Ida B. Wells are names I recognized while Jovita Idár, Alice Paul, Inez Milholland, Lucy Burns and Mary Church Terrell (sadly) are names that were new to me. Reading this book, seeing and thinking about what women have fought for, and for so long, was an emotional experience. Especially when thinking about what we still have to fight for today. It was also interesting to be reminded of how the fight for women's rights overlaps with the fight for equal rights. I also appreciated learning how, for Alice Paul and Lucy Burns, the path of the suffragette movement in America was influenced by women in London like Emmeline Pankhurst, who I was introduced to this year in another fantastic picture book biography series, Little People, Big Dreams.
Gillibrand wraps up Bold & Brave with the ratification of the Nineteenth Amendment in 1920, guaranteeing women the right to vote seventy years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton helped organize the Seneca Falls Convention, noting that it would be another forty-five years before that right was protected for African American women and men in many southern states. The final paragraph (and illustration) end the book on January 21, 2017 in Washington D.C. with Gillibrand recalling how she thought of the "courageous women whose lives and sacrifices shaped this country" as she stood in front of a crowd of women in pink hats and called out, "We want to be counted. We want to be heard. We are going to fight for what we believe in, and we are not turning back." Back matter includes "A Quick Walk Through American History: Keep Exploring How Women Have Shaped Our Nation" with brief biographies of eighteen important women and movements.
For those of you who don't know the amazing work of Maira Kalman, READ THIS! While I own many of her books (Stay Up Late, an illustrated version of the Talking Heads's song was one of the first books given to my daughter when she was born in 1993 and the Max Stravinsky quartet were in heavy bedtime rotation a couple of years later) I have only reviewed two of them here, both of which are authored by Daniel Handler/Lemony Snicket. To partially remedy this, I hope the covers of her books, below, will inspire you to explore her website and learn more about her books for kids and adults (she illustrated the Strunk & White classic The Elements of Style!!!), as well as her newspaper and magazine columns.
For adults, two by Maira and two by others...
Picture books by Maira (and one by David Byrne)