Tuesday, November 08, 2016

Happy Election Day!

My grandmother was 27 years old before she could vote. I never take this privilege for granted and am beyond excited that there is an opportunity for a woman to become president. Political leanings aside, I wish this election could have celebrated that rather than devolving into a giant cycle of People Being Stupid. 

The centenary of women winning the right to vote is in 2020. Wouldn't it be a lovely thing if we had a woman president to help us celebrate that?

Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 MilesRockliff, Mara. Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 miles.
Illustrated by Hadley Hooper.
August 2nd 2016 by Candlewick Press
Copy provided by Young Adult Books Central

Alice Burke and Nell Richardson toured the country in their Saxon motor car in 1916, armed with a typewriter, a sewing machine, and a cat. They stopped at a variety of venues across the southern United States, rallying people to their cause and ending up in California. Once there, they started off again to travel across Montana, Minnesota and other northern states before returning to New York City. 

Car travel at this point in history was very dangerous. There were few paved roads, and maps and directions themselves were difficult to find. Cars regularly broke down, and drivers had to be proficient in auto maintenance and had to carry gasoline with them. For two women to make the trip at the time is extraordinary and shows their fervent devotion to their cause. 

Around America to Win the Vote is a great introduction to a topic that might surprise many young readers, most of whom feel that the world has always been the way it is. It will be a revelation to them that people thought that Alice and Nell should have stayed at home and sewed, but the women brought the sewing machine along to prove that they could sew and give speeches about equality at the same time. The notes and bibliography at the end of the book are helpful in providing direction for further study. 

The brightly colored illustrations give a happy air to this book and show the styles and travel conditions of the time. I would have liked to see some photos of the two. Still, this is exactly the sort of picture book nonfiction I am seeking for middle school students-- interesting, informative, and a sneaky way to have them learn about important topics. 


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