Children's Books discussion

34 views
The Picture-Book Club > June 2018: Women's Suffrage (Discuss Club Reads Here)

Comments Showing 1-22 of 22 (22 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 2: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6922 comments Mod
(Busy month; we're getting ready for a cross-country move, I'll only read the two books my local branch could give me immediately.)

I just read The Ballot Box Battle for the Women's Suffrage thread and noticed that my library has it tagged as Easy Biography. Though the author's note admits that minor liberties have been taken, I found the themes to be true to history... and, more importantly, the story is engaging, entertaining, and meaningful. I truly believe young readers can gain a lot of appreciation for the struggle for the vote from this very short book and I highly recommend it.


message 3: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6922 comments Mod
I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote is another 'Easy Bio' and worthy read. The text is almost as engaging, and the pictures are even more so because they are actually *funny.* This one not only has the author's note, but also a list of resources.

If you are reading these just to sample them, to dip your own toe into the topic, either will do. But if you're reading in the context of homeschool or summer enrichment, I do recommend them both.


message 4: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Jun 02, 2018 12:03PM) (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
Thanks for posting, Cheryl. And for opening the thread. I had some unexpected appointments come up yesterday and the day just got swallowed up and I hadn't been at my desktop until this morning.

(Best wishes for your move, by the way. Where are you moving to, if you don't mind sharing?)

I'm still waiting for the books since they had to come from different branches but I'm hoping to get them this week.


message 5: by Cheryl , Newbery Club host (new)

Cheryl  (cherylllr) | 6922 comments Mod
(from Carson City to Rolla, MO. I have family in WI and in OKC so it will be nice to be so much closer to them, but the main reasons we're moving is to see a new part of the country now that my husband is retired, and to support my son as he transfers to Missouri S&T...)


message 6: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
(That’s exciting, Cheryl! We want to move somewhere less expensive and less polluted than Nor Cal and it’s both exciting and daunting to think of a big move. That’s great you will be closer to your extended family and son. Very best wishes!)


message 7: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments A Lady Has the Floor: Belva Lockwood Speaks Out for Women's Rights was my first introduction to this remarkable woman! I like the cute way her story is presented in this book. Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman's Race for the Presidency is a more straight up biography of Belva Lockwood complete with resources. I personally liked A Lady better because I learn better when presented with a story, much like the Esther Morris books. I will be reviewing them next week.


message 8: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women's Right to Vote

This book grossly oversimplifies and underplays Alice Paul's achievements. I know it's a picture book but I would have a lot of questions if I were a young reader! As an adult I question the decision to make Alice into a grubby farm girl when her family was rather well off. There's no mention of how her family believed girls and boys should receive an equal education, it skips over the tactics she learned in England and makes Alice out to be an eccentric, whimsical woman who always wore a purple hat. I don't get a sense, from this story, of why Woodrow Wilson and most men didn't believe in woman suffrage. There could have been a speech bubble or thought bubble about how women were less intelligent and more emotional than men or any other nonsense belief.

The illustrations are bright and colorful but I find them very cartoonish. Woodrow Wilson looks like a caricature of himself. I also had a few questions. Why does Alice always wear a purple hat? I don't see any photos of her on the official Alice Paul website of her wearing a purple hat! Also, a child will want to know why she wears a yellow dress. Why was yellow a favored color? It's not that she preferred those colors above all else-they have significance for the woman suffrage movement that isn't mentioned in the book. Purple symbolizes loyalty, constancy to purpose, unswerving steadfastness to a cause; white for purity and gold (or yellow) for the Kansas sunflower/the color of light and life. I know this is Alice's book but Inez Milholland appears unnamed in an illustration and I feel it's a disservice to her not to mention brief "Alice's friend Inez" or something simple, especially since Inez died only 2 years after the parade. Actually, all of Alice's friends should be named, especially Lucy Burns who was Alice Paul's partner in crime in the fight for voting rights.

Overall, I think there are better books about the fight for women's right to vote. Adults and teens may enjoy the movie "Iron Jawed Angels" starring Oscar winner Hilary Swank as Alice Paul.


message 9: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
This adorable picture book biography teaches girls they can do anything. In the 19th-century when girls were expected to sew and pour tea, Esther believed she could do that from a young age. As a middle-aged woman she traveled west and is credited with getting women the vote in Wyoming. The text is simple and tells a story. The can-do attitude is emphasized by repetitive phrases "I could do that" and "And she did." It helps associate the name with the deed. This is one strong-minded woman full of self-confidence. Unfortunately, not much is known about her real life. The author includes an author's note and list of resources.

The illustrations are really cute while still being realistic for the time. My favorite illustrations are young Esther pouring tea for her mourning family (the facial expressions on her father, brothers are great), Esther stopping the pro-slavery advocates intent on burning down her church, Esther bathing her family and older Esther leaning over the state legislators as they gamble. Of course I also love the timeline of other states and territories that gave women the vote prior to the 19th Amendment.

and When Esther Morris Headed West: Women, Wyoming, and the Right to Vote

A middle-aged widow and mother, Esther Morris, went West in 1869 to South Pass City in Wyoming Territory and changed history. She fought for women's suffrage and became the first woman to hold public office. This book is a straight, simple biography. It's a sort of sequel to I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote but covers some of the same timeframe. I prefer the quirky story of I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote but this book is very good too. Esther Morris was a strong, intelligent, capable woman who probably didn't have much formal education but knew what she wanted and how to get it. This book takes us past her death to 1920 when women in all states finally won the right to vote. The final page is my favorite because of the message and the illustration.

The illustrations are done in a soft color palette and look realistic but not too realistic. The people aside from Esther look a bit cartoony. There's a lot of dry dust/dirt and a Wild West feel to the pictures. The final illustration of Esther is funny, cute and my favorite.

The book includes an author's note, list of sources and places to visit.

I would recommend this book for kids ages 6-8 while the other book is better suited for younger kids about 4-6.


message 10: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments The Ballot Box Battle

Ten-year-old Cordelia is bored by her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Stanton's, stories about women's suffrage. Who cares? Men make all the decisions like that anyway. Cordelia would rather be riding horses! Then she discovers a common bond with Mrs. Stanton that helps her achieve her goal of riding a horse, if only a borrowed one. Through Mrs. Stanton's words and actions and the words and actions of the men of Tenafly, Cordelia's eyes and ears become more open to what Mrs. Stanton is trying to tell her.

Adult readers will probably recognize Elizabeth Cady Stanton, one of the first women's rights activists in the United States. This slight biography is told through the eyes of a child rather than just the facts laid out for the reader. I think this technique will make the story more interesting and relatable to young children, especially girls. I hope kids read this and think about that boring old person and wonder what stories that boring old person has to tell that are relevant to their own lives. Girls will especially be interested in this story, I think. My nieces were very well aware than "a girl" was running for President of the United States in 2016-the FIRST "girl" (well no, but the first in our lifetimes). They didn't really understand what else was going on just that someone female like them was poised to make history-and didn't. They were crushed when "Hilawy" didn't win and felt it was a blow to female kind. Prior to that time they didn't even know women COULD be President and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would be deeply upset by that. She would tell them the same stories she told Cordelia about the fight for equality and sometimes you have to take the reins yourself rather than wait for them to be handed to you.

Cordelia is a little bit spunky and very typically single-minded for a girl her age. She's focused on herself and what she wants. I found her a bit annoying until the end. I liked young Elizabeth better and my heart broke for her. She must have been brilliant but so brokenhearted by the rejection of her father. I know this story and remember it well from reading ahead in my English textbook when I was about Cordelia's age. Elizabeth's father is the sort of villain of the story as are the men who refuse to allow Elizabeth to vote. It's not so black and white, however, some men aren't sure what to do about this pushy Mrs. Stanton and two men are in support of women voting. I appreciate the author subtly and briefly showing different viewpoints.

The illustrations are pretty good. Elizabeth Cady Stanton is instantly recognizable as the elderly dowager she was in the 1880s. Cordelia's dresses date to the 1900s-1920s not 1880s but close enough for most people not to notice. The difference between her and young Elizabeth is readily apparent to those paying attention.

This book contains an author's note biography of Elizabeth Cady Stanton mentioning the books she used for research.


message 11: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles

In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car to win the vote for American women. They brought along a kitten, a sewing machine, a typewriter, tools and spare parts-everything they needed to loop around the country. The sewing machine and apron would prove women could write poetry or sew AND give speeches at the same time. When they found a group of men unwilling to listen to their speech about voting, they talked about their car instead. Mostly, they won the support of women and men across the country before returning to New York 6 months later. The book includes historical notes on cars, winning the vote, sources and suggestions for further reading.

I really enjoyed this story a lot. I read the same Smithsonian blog post the author did and was intrigued by the story. This picture book simplifies the story of the fight for women's suffrage and focuses on these two women. I wish the author had briefly talked about how women weren't full and equal citizens and why and how these two women thought they could change that. I did like how she mentions the typewriter and sewing machine. It was a clever way to introduce the way men thought about women at the time. The one thing I really didn't like about the story was that it included too many pointless details.

I really did not like the illustrations. I think the target age market could do better! The illustrations are simple sketches done mostly in yellow with a bit more colors added here and there. The people are flat stick figures. Only in the back of the book do readers discover why all the yellow. I wish that had been mentioned early and the illustrator used other colors.

Other than those minor complaints, I think this is a fun and inspiring story for kids.


message 12: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
It looks like the books are finally in at the library and I'm planning to pick them up on Tuesday! :-) Looking forward to getting my hands on them and joining the discussion...


message 13: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Jun 12, 2018 05:36PM) (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "The Ballot Box Battle
...Elizabeth's father is the sort of villain of the story as are the men who refuse to allow Elizabeth to vote. It's not so black and white, however, some men aren't sure what to do about this pushy Mrs. Stanton and two men are in support of women voting. I appreciate the author subtly and briefly showing different viewpoints. ."


I liked that aspect of the book, too. Maybe I'm especially sensitive to this because I have boys instead of girls, but I really want to show them that some *men* were also supporters of women's suffrage. So often it's so divisive, men vs. women (even this book had the me frown over the (albeit maybe true) bit in there about Pastor Hosack liking girls better than boys -- more division!) and I know that's unfortunately how it was in the vast majority of cases. But, I appreciate books that show that some men were wise enough or progressive enough or caring enough to support the rights of women. (And, alternately, not *all* women were suffragists.) I think that, in picture books especially, it is easy to make things all either/or for the sake of simplification.

Anyway, I can't say this book particularly moved me or would be the best first introduction to Stanton but it was engaging and did a good job of portraying this event in history making it vivid and lively and I would recommend it along with other books on the subject.


message 14: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Jun 12, 2018 05:50PM) (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women's Right to Vote

This book grossly oversimplifies and underplays Alice Paul's achievements. I know it's a picture book b..."


I really appreciate your insights about this one! I was underwhelmed by it, as well, but lack your background and am grateful to have some of my questions answered! ;-)

The tone just kind of got off on the wrong foot for me where it focused on Alice's attire and checking on the parade and the dancing and all these "frou-frou" kind of things -- without really explaining any symbolism or significance behind them. I also felt that it really glossed over what "other problems" President Wilson had to address and why he finally changed his mind over supporting women's suffrage. I feel like the book suffered from having too much breadth but not enough depth. Such as the bit about Alice getting hauled off to jail and how that's just what she hoped would happen. I can see kids wondering WHY would she WANT to go to jail!? Is the answer because President Wilson didn't like to think of her in there? I think that's much too glossed-over.

The Author's Note explains that the suffragists didn't win just by convincing Wilson, there was a continued battle with Congress and the state governments. Still, I would have liked more about Paul herself. I don't feel we got to know much about her personality or uniqueness.


message 15: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
Those are the only two official reads I am able to get, unfortunately. It's a great topic and I'll try to find some others to read for our general discussion.


message 16: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles

In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car to win ..."


I had really wanted to read this one, the title is so intriguing! Sounds good on the whole, but I'll have to be patient and hope my library orders a copy eventually.


message 17: by Steve (new)

Steve Shilstone | 189 comments QNPoohBear wrote: "The Ballot Box Battle

Ten-year-old Cordelia is bored by her elderly neighbor, Mrs. Stanton's, stories about women's suffrage. Who cares? Men make all the decisions like that anyway. ..."


A fun fact - Along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the third pillar of the suffrage movement in the 2nd half of the 19th century was Matilda Joslyn Gage, L. Frank Baum's mother-in-law. It is no surprise that the wonderful world of Oz features lots of woman power.


message 18: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
Wow, that’s really neat, Steve! Thank you for sharing.


message 19: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments Steve wrote: "A fun fact - Along with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, the third pillar of the suffrage movement in the 2nd half of the 19th century was Matilda Joslyn Gage, L. Frank Baum's mother-in-law. It is no surprise that the wonderful world of Oz features lots of woman power. "

That's a fun fact I had forgotten. I remember the big three: Cady, Anthony and Lucretia Coffin Mott at Seneca Falls but I know there were several others and the FIRST women's rights convention was in Worcester, Massachusetts about an hour from here. Have I made it to Women's Rights National Historic Park? Why no I have not. *sigh* https://www.nps.gov/wori/index.htm


message 20: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (last edited Aug 20, 2019 03:04PM) (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
I finally got to read Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles. I'm working my way through all the Rockliff PB biographies at my library and thoroughly enjoying them. I had forgotten that she is the author of this book and was delighted that this library district has a copy! I'd checked this out for myself so I was surprised when my six-year-old asked if we could read it together. I think the car and the kitten on the cover captured his attention! ;-) It ended up being a good one to share, as it's more simply told than her others. In fact, my one criticism is that I felt the story was too cheerful and too one-dimensional in its portrayal yet that is what made it so easy to share with my young one. (Indeed, so many books dealing with votes for women focus on the speech-giving, the heavy opposition and being hauled off to jail! I did appreciate this more cheerful side of things and it being suitable for young, sensitive readers.) Even so, one comes away from this book feeling that these suffragists faced opposition only on their physical course (rough roads, car getting stuck in the mud, etc.) and that every person they met was exceedingly delighted to see them, applauded their speeches and invited them to join parades and threw them yellow-themed tea parties. Of course, these things did happen, but I would be very much surprised if they did not face at least a few hecklers. I think it diminishes their courage not to include at least a little of this, even lightly. Still, it's quite charming and I thoroughly enjoyed it for what it is.


message 21: by QNPoohBear (new)

QNPoohBear | 2497 comments So happy to hear your 6 year old enjoyed learning about women's suffrage. I think I read this one to my oldest niece when she was that age too. It didn't fall under the pink category so I don't think she was all that interested.


message 22: by Kathryn, The Princess of Picture-Books (new)

Kathryn | 6391 comments Mod
QNPoohBear wrote: "So happy to hear your 6 year old enjoyed learning about women's suffrage. I think I read this one to my oldest niece when she was that age too. It didn't fall under the pink category so I don't thi..."

If only her favorite color was yellow! ;-)


back to top