Friday, August 26, 2011

Women's Equality Day....and Children's Books

National Women's History Project
Winning the Vote Poster
Today is Women’s Equality Day. On August 26, 1920, after 72 years of campaigning, American women finally achieved their aim of being able to vote.

One of the leaders in the struggle was Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  I remember reading an excellent review of Tanya Lee Stone’s Elizabeth Leads the Way, but being shocked by the statement that most young people would be unfamiliar with Stanton and what she accomplished.  Then I realized I probably never heard of her when I was in school either. 

I have always enjoyed reading history books, so I don’t know when I picked up my knowledge of women’s many contributions to world history, including the American suffragette movement and the women behind it. So I consider the excellent books available for children on this subject vitally important.

Elizabeth Leads the Way begins with these words:

'What would you do
if someone told you
you can’t be what you want to be
What would you do
if someone told you
your vote doesn’t count
your voice doesn’t matter
because you are a girl.
Would you ask why?
Would you talk back?
Would you fight for your rights?
Elizabeth did.'

Elizabeth Leads the Way –Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote is an excellent picture book to read to children—especially girls—today, in honor of Women’s Equality Day.  Another book about Elizabeth, for older kids, is You Want Women to Vote, Lizzie Stanton by Jean Fritz.

My next posts will be on the very inspiring and enlightening Illustrator Intensive I attended at the SCBWI Summer Conference.  It included demonstrations by Jerry Pinkney, Paul O. Zelinsky and Kadir Nelson.

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