Shaking Things Up: 14 Young Women Who Changed the World by Susan Hood, Illustrated by 13 Extraordinary Women, 32 pp, RL 3
Shaking Things Up:
14 Young Women Who Changed the World
by Susan Hood
Illustrated by Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall,
Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin K. Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland, Melissa Sweet
With biographical poems and thirteen fantastic illustrators, Susan Hood's Shaking Things Up: Fourteen Young Women Who Changed the World is an excellent addition to the growing shelves of picture book biographies, especially those about great women. Howard does a fine job bringing diversity and lesser known women to the page while also beginning her book with a timeline that gives readers historical context that includes the ages of the women when their landmark life experiences occurred. Best of all, Howard introduced me to some amazing women I had never heard of, like Molly Williams, the first known firefighter in the United States, illustrated by Shadra Strickland. Each two page spread includes a quote from or about the subject, Howard's poem and a brief biographical paragraph at the bottom of each verso page. It's here that I learned that Williams (1747-1821) was the servant of a volunteer firefighter who knew the demands of the job from her time cooking for the men of the Oceanus Engine Company No. 11 in New York City. Howard ends the bio with these stunning words, "There wasn't another female firefighter in New York City until 1982, when Brenda Berkman burned the FDNY with a discrimination lawsuit."
Along with names some young readers may be familiar with, like Ruby Bridges, Frida Kahlo, Mae Jemison and Malala Yousafzai are women like Mary Anning, Nellie Bly, Annette Kellerman, Pura Belpré, Jaqueline and Eileen Nearne, Frances Moore Lappé, Maya Lin and Angela Zhang. An astronaut, artist, architect, paleontologist, journalist, and scientist join spies, a librarian, an anti-hunger activist, a civil rights pioneer and a champion athlete who invented the modern swimsuit to make a marvelous book that is a delight to read.