Written by: Senator Janet Howell & Theresa Howell, forward by Hillary Rodham Clinton
Illustrated by: Kylie Akia & Alexandra Bye
For ages: YA middle & upper grades to read themselves (ages 10 and up); great bedtime story for younger children.
Topics Covered: Trailblazers, Women in Politics, Government, Leadership, Historical Figures, Historical Events, Feminism, Politics.
Summary: Something right off the bat that we really liked about this book are the “Power Symbols” in the beginning. These are small badge icons that represent different characteristics that the women profiled in the book embody. The Power Symbols are: Integrity, Community, Resourcefulness, Diligence, Courage, Persistence, Empathy, Communication. They each have their own icon, and a list of categories that help define the trait. This is helpful for the reader to expand their vocabulary and be able to attribute certain personality aspects to themselves and others.
The layout of this book has several sections. The largest section (obviously) is the profile of 50 women leaders in the United States. Besides an illustration of the figure, there are two quotes from the woman profiled, a biography, and years lived with titles held above the Power Symbols. The book is decidedly apolitical, featuring women from various political parties throughout history. Abigail Adams, Tammy Duckworth, Frances Perkins, Shirley Chisholm, Wilma Mankiller, and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez are just a handful of the women featured.
After these fantastic women are featured there is an action guide for the reader on how to “stand up, speak out, and make a difference” which is awesome! Empowerment is key for women and young girls to be able to continue to become elected in American government. There are also more leaders to discover, source notes, and an index.
This book was put out in celebration for white women having the right to vote for a century. This is quite an accomplishment, and having women’s voices in spaces historically dominated by men is vital for opinions and concerns to be heard and considered in matters of legislation. The book does not cover the intricacies of Black women’s voting rights in detail, although there are activists who worked on voter registration campaigns such as Fannie Lou Hamer profiled. The authors do discuss the unfair voting tests that Black individuals were subject to as well as corresponding demonstrations. Overall, this is a great book and amazing resource for talented women involved in politics. many of these profiles could be used as a jumping off point for more in-depth research projects for middle school students. We were sent this book from the publisher, Candlewick, but all opinions are our own!
About the Author & the Illustrator:
Senator Janet Howell has been a Virginia State Senator since 1992. A community leader prior to running for office, Janet was a PTA president, community association president, and Chair of the State Board of Social Services. Senator Howell is one of Virginia’s most influential senators. She was the first woman to serve on the powerful Senate Finance Committee. She also serves on the Courts of Justice, Education and Health, Privileges and Elections and Rules committees, and is a Senate budget conferee. Senator Howell is credited with major legal reforms. She headed the overhaul of Virginia’s family violence laws. She led efforts to protect children from sexual predators. Virginia has genetic information privacy legislation due to her efforts. She spearheaded the mental health law reform in the Senate following the Virginia Tech tragedy. Education, children, and families have always been top priorities.
Theresa Howell is the co-author of Maybe Something Beautiful (co-written with F. Isabel Campoy & illustrated by Rafael López), which was inspired by the Urban Art Trail project in San Diego spearheaded by Rafael and his wife, Candice, and has led to similar community art projects throughout the United States. Maybe Something Beautiful was selected as the 2018 Read for the Record title, is the winner of the 2017 Tomás Rivera Book Award, and was named an ALA Notable Book as well as a 2016 Best Book of the Year by Kirkus, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Public Library, and SLJ’s Fuse#8 blog. The Spanish edition of Maybe Something Beautiful, titled Quizás Algo Hermoso, is now available. Theresa is also the author of the picture book series Scout Moore, Junior Ranger (Grand Canyon Conservancy and Muddy Boots Books), featuring the bright, curious, outdoor-loving Scout who motivates young readers to get out there and explore our national parks and nature for themselves. Her latest project, Leading the Way: Women in Power (Candlewick Press) with Senator Janet Howell, spotlights the careers of fifty American women in politics — and inspires readers to make a difference. With foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton. Theresa began her career in publishing as a children’s book editor with Rising Moon, where she helped establish the bilingual imprint Luna Rising and published a number of award-winning titles. She lives in Colorado with her scientist husband and two creative, nature-loving daughters. There, she hikes, reads, dances, and dreams.
Kylie Akia is a digital illustrator and painter. Her work creates a narrative of juxtaposition through the use of color, subject, and content. Leading the Way: Women in Power is her picture book debut. Kylie Akia lives in Chicago.
Alexandra Bye is an illustrator specializing in fun, colorful illustrations for a variety of media, such as editorial and children’s publications. She lives in New Hampshire, where she enjoys backpacking, cross-country skiing, and mountain biking with her dog.