Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Written & Illustrated by: Vashti Harrison

For Ages: 8-11 years

Language: English

Topics Covered: POC-centric narratives, activism, historical figures, self-acceptance.

Summary: This book covers so many strong women throughout history, 40 to be exact! Starting with Phillis Wheatley and ending with Dominique Dawes. Each page has a brief history of their life, with a portrait of the individual on the opposite side. The descriptions are informative yet written for a wide range of ages. Also included in the back are 12 more that Vashti Harrison couldn’t help but mention!

The illustrations of each of these women feature them with their eyes closed, looking peaceful and happy. The snapshots of these women’s lives are written in a narrative style, perfect for a classroom story time or quick bedtime read. The language used is easy to understand and decode for young readers, both to improve their literacy skills and introduce them firsthand to these incredible historical figures.

Reflection Questions:

  • Which one of these heroes do you identify with?
  • What would you like to be known for in your life?
  • If someone were describing you, what words would you want them to use?
  • If you could choose to meet one of these strong women, which one would you choose?

Continuing the Conversation:

  • Learn more about some of the organizations these women started, and see if any are still around in your area to work with.
  • If going more in-depth with students, use one of these stories each week as a jumping off point and use more audiovisual sources and materials. This will make further connections that these women were real people, rather than just story characters.

About the Author & Illustrator:

vashti harrisonPart author – Illustrator – filmmaker Vashti Harrison is an artist originally from Onley, Virginia. She has a background in cinematography and screenwriting and a love for storytelling. She earned her BA from the University of Virginia with a double major in Media Studies and Studio Art with concentrations in Film and Cinematography. She received her MFA in Film and Video from CalArts where she snuck into Animation classes to learn from Disney and Dreamworks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Now, utilizing both skill sets, she is passionate about crafting beautiful stories in both the film and kidlit worlds.  Her Experimental films and videos focus on her Caribbean Heritage and folklore. They have shown around the world at film festivals and venues including the New York Film Festival, Rotterdam International Film Festival and Edinburgh International Film Festival. Find out more.

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