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Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote Book Poster Image
Lively tales of 10 who led fight for women's voting rights.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Loads of historical information about struggle for women's voting rights in the US. Explanation of Underground Railroad. Reference to struggle for suffrage in London. Informative bios of 10 leaders who fought to earn women the vote. Back matter includes a paragraph each on 16 more women, plus a paragraph about African American women activists in the 1950s-'60s and "second wave" of women activists in '60s-'70s. 

Positive Messages

An inspirational line appears in portrait of each of 10 women profiled: "Dare to be different," "Never give up," "Speak the Truth," "Be strong and courageous," "Fight for fairness," "Shake things up," "Your voice matters," "Tell your story," "Persistence is powerful," "Stand together." Messages of determination, perseverance, resilience abound. On last page, Gillibrand encourages readers to fight for positive change, demand to be counted and heard: "Now it's your turn. You are the suffragists of our time. ... Stand up, speak out, and fight for what you believe in. Be bold and be brave. The future is yours to make."

Positive Role Models & Representations

All 10 profiled activists are role models, as is author Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and the women in her family: her mom, grandmother, great-grandmother. Of 10 featured women, four are African American, one is Latina, the others white. Two pages in back matter spotlight contributions of 16 more women plus waves of women activists in the 1950s-1970s, whose actions contributed to civil rights, voting rights, women's rights.  

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote, by U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, offers lively mini-bios of 10 leaders in the fight for women's voting rights. Young readers will find profiles of the well known, like Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, and Susan B. Anthony, and not so well known, such as Alice Paul, who led the first national parade for women's suffrage in Washington, D.C., in 1913. The appealing art and concise, kid-friendly bios are packed with information and inspiration. 

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What's the story?

This nonfiction picture book, BOLD & BRAVE, starts with the author, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, talking about her childhood and how important voting was in her family and how her trailblazing great-grandmother was her role model: "Mimi taught me to be bold and to believe there was nothing I couldn't do." She goes on to offer capsule biographies of 10 women who led the fight for women's right to vote, starting with original suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1815-1902) and ending with Mary Church Terrell (1863-1954), an African American educator who co-founded and led the National Association of Colored Women. Terrell fought to make sure that even in a segregated society, black women would gain the right to vote as well as white women. "Mary continued to fight against discrimination, knowing that not until all women reached their full potential could America reach its," Gillibrand writes. The story continues right up through the 2017 Women's March, with a two-page spread showing pink-hatted women demonstrating in Washington, D.C., as millions of women did across the country that day. 

Is it any good?

This accessible collection of 10 compelling mini-bios of women who fought for women's voting rights brims with fascinating history and inspiration. It took more than 70 years of struggle to succeed, as Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote shows. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand's text is lively, clear, and concise, and Maria Kalman's evocative portraits are sure to draw young readers in.

Gillibrand makes clear that the struggle continues, and invites readers to join in, saying on the last page: "Now it's your turn. You are the suffragists of our time. ... Stand up, speak out, and fight for what you believe in. Be bold and be brave. The future is yours to make."

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the struggle for women's voting rights shown in Bold & Brave: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote. Are you surprised that it took 70 years to happen after women started demanding it? 

  • Why did women fight so hard to be able to vote? What difference does it make?

  • Which story of the 10 do you like the most? Which story surprised you the most? 

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For kids who love biographies and stories of great women

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