A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Introduction to 13 women who accomplished great things despite obstacles and others saying they couldn't. Their names and quick summary of accomplishments. Contributions to American history. The word and concept "persisted."
Girls can be and do anything and can change the world for the better. If someone says that "your voice isn't important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you."
Positive Role Models
Thirteen excellent female role models from across different fields and of different races and backgrounds, as well as one woman with disabilities. Their accomplishments span civil rights and labor, sports, science and medicine, the arts, media, journalism, politics, and law.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, a picture book by Chelsea Clinton (It's Your World: Get Informed, Get Inspired & Get Going!) and illustrated by Alexandra Boiger (Tallulah's Tutu), is a compilation of 13 short inspirational profiles of American women who persisted despite obstacles or negative societal expectations. It includes iconic figures like Harriet Tubman, as well as relatively unsung women like garment industry labor organizer Clara Lemlich. Clinton includes women of various races from different eras and a wide span of professional fields, as well as one woman with a disability (Helen Keller). The profiles, which are warmed up considerably by the lovely, affecting art, encourage girls to "remember these women. They persisted and so should you."
Is It Any Good?
These short profiles of 13 brave, accomplished women capitalize on the current feminist rallying cry "She persisted" and are bite-sized fare for the young. Chelsea Clinton's choices of women for She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World are a fresh mix, some iconic and others not often profiled, such as Native American ballerina Maria Tallchief and doctor Virginia Apgar. It's too bad the women's stories aren't a bit more information-rich, with more telling, personal details to make them come alive. It goes a long way, for instance, when we read that "Oprah Winfrey's grandmother expected Oprah to follow in her footsteps and become a maid." We can almost hear those conversations and feel the weight of that crushing expectation. But other profiles feel more generic -- for instance, some women persisted despite the fact that "not everyone agreed" or "few people thought" they could.
Alexandra Boiger's warm, appealing illustrations are outstanding and provide engaging human detail. She often includes kids in the art, sometimes depicting the women as kids themselves, and finds many ways to humanize the text. When labor leader Clara Lemlich thought "the factory's conditions made women into machines," we see rows of mono-tinted garment workers bent over dreary, crowded worktables. Since some of the figures profiled (Ruby Bridges, Harriet Tubman, Sonia Sotomayor) have other picture books written about them, this book can serve as an excellent introduction, whetting kids' appetites for more.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.