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Shirley Chisholm is a Verb!

4.59  ·  Rating details ·  302 ratings  ·  81 reviews
A timely picture book biography about Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman in Congress, who sought the Democratic nomination to be the president of the United States.

Shirley Chisholm famously said, "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." This dynamic biography illuminates how Chisholm was a doer, an active and vocal participant in our nation
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published July 28th 2020 by Dial Books for Young Readers
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This is a picture book biography on Shirley Chisholm written by Veronica Chambers and illustrated by Rachelle Baker.

Shirley Chisholm was the first African-American woman elected to the U. S. Congress. In college she sought a degree in education. On completion she worked as a nursery school teacher while earning a master's degree. She later was a nursery school director and then an early childhood education consultant for New York city.

Chisholm wanted go do more for the people of New York and dec
"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."

Fighting Shirley Chisholm, Unbought and Unbossed, was the first Black woman ever elected to Congress and the first woman to run for president. The fantastic biography, emphasizes all the ways Shirley Chisholm lived her life by doing.

"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth."
Oct 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
'Shirley Chisolm is a Verb' does a wonderful job of telling Chisholm's story while emphasizing verbs and vocabulary words. I didn't know about Shirley Chisholm (I'm Canadian!) and I loved learning about her inspiring time in Congress. It is a timely book for right now as well, and can help to begin discussions with children about racism and about why voting matters—the book even provides words like 'campaign' and 'represent' to help begin that talk. ...more
Emmy Lou
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I'm not going to lie, I didn't know who Shirley Chisholm was before today. But boy, I think I would liked to have met her. She seems like a character and a half. ...more
Christie Angleton
One of the best picturebook biographies I've ever read - and I've read a lot of 'em! ...more
Jan 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Before Senator Kamala Harris said, "Mr. Vice President, I'm speaking," during the vice presidential debates. Before Senator Elizabeth Warren persisted in reading a letter by Coretta Scott King during Jeff Sessions' confirmation for Attorney General. Before Rep. Maxine Waters said, "Reclaiming my time," during a Financial Services Committee Hearing.

Before all of these, Shirley Chisholm said, "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring in a folding chair." Shirley Chisholm went from her bi
Nov 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio-strong-women

All of these verbs are actions that "move the world forward," right? In this picture book bio, Veronica Chambers and Rachelle Baker makes a strong case that Shirley Chisholm LIVED HER VERBS, that she was a doer. Throughout the text, particular verbs are printed in bright blue bold caps. These words invite conversation with the young students who we read this aloud to or the small groups of students who read this book together.

I knew about Shirley Chisholm as a young voter, during that perilous and yet exciting time during the fight for voting rights. However, Veronica Chambers has shared so much more that I didn't know and perhaps many others do not as well. Shirley Chisholm was action-challenged, from working hard in school, first became a teacher of pre-schoolers. Yet, in her work there, she ended up being one of the organizers of Head Start! One quote stood out to me: "Service to others is the rent you pay for you ...more
Shaye Miller
Nov 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shirley Chisholm was the first Black woman in Congress and she also sought the Democratic nomination for president. She had conviction and spoke with bold determination. Young readers will learn about her role in programs like Head Start (which helps 3 and 4 year olds get ready for Kindergarten), WIC (which assists Women, Infants, and Children in need of food), and the national school lunch program. There are soooo many great and empowering quotes from Chisholm, like:

If they don’t give you a sea
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. This book was super sophisticated and well done. I learned more about Chisholm from this book than I have from others, but it didn't feel like an info dump--everything was so carefully worded and precise. I LOVED the way she bolded/highlighted verbs throughout, really emphasizing Chisholm's actions and impact, and it tied so nicely with the title/theme. It feels really important at the end too when Chambers includes present-day female trailblazers, showing how important it is to stand up/sp ...more
Ruth Ann
Truly a biography written for kids, this book about Shirley Chisholm is spectacular!
Short and strong sentences.
Vivid verbs.
Large illustrations.
Shirley started the Head Start program.
She helped create WIC and the national school lunch program.
First serious female presidential candidate and first Black presidential candidate.
In 2015, Ms. Chisholm posthumously was awarded the Medal of Freedom.
Wendy Gardiner
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biography
"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."
"Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth."
The long-lasting impact of Chisholm's life and work is brought to life in this biography. School lunches? Thank you, Shirley Chisholm. And...much, much more. Highly recommend!
Amanda Geske
Nov 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing
“She understood, almost intuitively, how and why verbs are not just words about being, but doing.” 😭
Katie Reilley
Dec 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Amazing picture book biography outlining the force of action that was Shirley Chisholm, who moved the world forward to make life better for everyone.

“Verbs are words that move the world forward.”

“Service to others is the rent you pay for your room on earth.”
Can a person be a verb? Shirley Chisholm is! Innovator, feminist, pioneer. Awesome and informative.
Mary Lee
Every page has a verb in a large, bold, colored font. Can't wait to invite my students to identify THEIR verbs.

What a lifetime of service Chisholm had. I didn't know that she was a teacher, involved with WIC, Head Start, school lunch
Franki Sibberson
So much information about Shirley Chisholm packed into this picture book biography. The title and the idea of a verb/action is powerful.
Stephanie Bange
Dec 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
The second picture book biography that I have read this year about Shirley Chisholm, the first woman to make a serious bid for President of the U.S.

This biography focuses on verbs that were the key to Chisholm's success in life. Words like connect, dreamed, graduated, improve, honor, listen, and represent.

Chambers offers highlights from Chisholm's public life, from her birth in New York through her retirement from Congress. It focuses on the actions and successes in her life, with sensibilities
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Much to my chagrin, I had no prior knowledge of Shirley Chisholm. Our introduction came from Ijeoma Oluo’s illuminating exposé Mediocre, and I was enthralled. As an educator and bibliophile, I decided to do some literary archeology and find out if there were any children's books I could share with my second graders.

To my delight, I discovered Veronica Chambers’ Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb and fell in love with this self proclaimed “black woman who dared to be herself.” Not only is this gorgeousl
Mar 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Black History and Women's History requests
Recommended to June by: Edward Sullivan
Maybe a 4.5, but rounded up because Chisholm was my father's favorite politician, and I found it inspirational.

"She knew she could only fail if she didn't try."

Young biography of the first Black woman to be elected to Congress and the first black person and woman to run for President.

Her first committee was the House Agricultural Committee. She wondered how she could accomplish anything for her constituents in NYC. A friend suggested that she use it to feed the hungry. Shirley created WIC and a
Laura Giessler
A solid picture book biography about a woman we should all appreciate. She was a pioneer in so many ways--the book made me stop to think what it would have been like to be the first and only black woman in Congress. Wow. The book includes her work on preschool and Head Start, WIC, school lunches. It includes her campaign slogan "Unbought and unbossed" and several notable quotes, like "If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair." Throughout the book, key VERBS are highlight ...more
Erin Staebler
Jan 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: picture-books
Absolutely fantastic! I loved how this book highlighted all the actions Shirley Chisholm took throughout her life to serve others. She was "Black. Beautiful. Brave. Brainy. Bright. Believable." I know those are a bunch of adjectives, but they do describe Shirley and what she did for her community in Brooklyn and the United States so well. I didn't know that she helped to start WIC or the school lunch program. It ends with a great connection to modern day advancements of women and BIPOC in nation ...more
Raven Black
Feb 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
A nice book about a pioneer for the rights of all. She was not just a woman or a black woman, but a person who thought of the country. This book uses verbs to tell the story of Chisholm. Therefore, this makes a book that can be used on several levels: she is a black woman (black history) and a woman (women's history). She was a politician that started many of the programs today (WIC is something I know that helped my family). She worked in education. And due to the highlighting of the special ve ...more
Wow! This book is set up around the concept of verbs, making any teacher ecstatic at hitting
English Grammar and Women’s History and Black History and American Politics/History all at once! I’ve seen one other book set up like this with words popping off the page but can’t recall it at the moment. This book is just so exciting and exuberant in its approach! It is about her life but focuses on many of the effects she had to her legislative efforts. She is a role model for AOC and many others. Hig
Mar 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Lots of great information about Shirley Chisholm in this book. I learned a lot! I didn't know she was basically responsible for the Head Start program, WIC and the National School Lunch Program!

I will say that I think this book was too text heavy. I get that Chambers was trying ton include a lot of information but it made the book drag a bit. That being said, it was still really inspiring and hopeful.

I wasn't the biggest fan of the style of illustrations in this book but it didn't affect my enj
Margaret Boling
5/22/2021 ~ Wow - this book packs a punch; there's so much information about the life and service of Shirley Chisholm. I recognized so many quotes, but previously had no idea who they came from.

"If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair."

The author says "Shirley Chisholm accomplished so much, because she chose her verbs carefully." What verbs will readers take away from this book?

How I "discovered" this book:
May 28, 2021 rated it it was amazing
If you are teaching verbs and not using this book, then shame on you. With the verbs of Shirley Chisolm's action bolded in deep green, the reader learns about what she did. This book covers the entire life of Ms. Chisholm in 40 pages. Mentions of women in politics that were inspired by Ms. Chisolm show her lasting impact on our government and society. The last few pages ask the reader to choose their verb. Back matter includes a letter from the author who grew up in Brooklynn NY. A must-have for ...more
Kris Dersch
This is really well done and with striking illustrations. I love the whole idea of using the verbs of her life, I love the thoroughness of it, with information about her childhood, life in education, founding of WIC, lots of things I didn't know, and the connections to contemporary female politicians and very personal and moving author's note in the back. A really well done tribute from start to finish of an impressive woman we should all know more about. ...more
Nov 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is an enjoyable read about the life of Shirley Chisholm. She was a strong advocate for education and believed in the power of using your voice for change. Shirley Chisholm used her voice in politics to serve on the New York State Assembly and the United States Congress. Her political career spanned over several years including her running as a Democratic presidential candidate in 1972.
The illustrations are vivid, detailed, and captures the spirit of Shirley Chisholm.
Jan 04, 2021 rated it really liked it
Love: action words to describe Shirley Chisholm, her first career and emphasis on strong early childhood education, the pic on page 28 with the 6 descriptor words beginning with B (alone at the top of the page and imbedded in the picture), and all the people she inspired. There is an author note which mentions a documentary and books written by Ms. Chisholm, but no other back matter. I always like to see a source notes page for direct quotes in the text.
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Veronica Chambers is a prolific author, best known for her critically acclaimed memoir, Mama’s Girl, which has been course adopted by hundreds of high schools and colleges throughout the country. The New Yorker called Mama’s Girl “a troubling testament to grit and mother love… one of the finest and most evenhanded in the genre in recent years.” Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, Ms. Chambers' ...more

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