Written by: Deborah Diesen
Illustrated by: Magdalena Mora
For ages: 3-8 years
Topics Covered: Activism, Equality, Rights, Voting, American History, POC-Centric Narratives, Oppression, Racism, Politics.
This rhyming book is an incredible look at the history of voting rights in America, and specifically about the activism that took place in order to ensure those rights were more evenly distributed throughout the population. The reader learns who was first granted the right to vote (rich white men), and who was left out (literally everyone else). There is a refrain that a small crowd (at first) chants while marching and over the course of the book this crowd grows, oppressed voters organizing for their rights.
Equality’s Call does a phenomenal job of using current language to describe the enslavement and oppression that women and Black Americans were subject to, as well as recognition that although technically voting rights were granted there were still ways of marginalizing and oppressing citizens that were not white. In the back of the book is more information about voting rights and the legislation that was passed. I’m so pleased that the 1984 ruling about accessibility to voting spaces was included as well, it’s not something I would describe as well-known. The same with the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, which I will be so bold as to claim that the majority of the population has no idea was ever passed. There is also a disclaimer that the list is not comprehensive, urging readers to learn as much as they can about the subject.
There are a lot of excellent books about voting and voting rights for older readers, but this one is aimed at young readers. Teaching them from the beginning about the correct language to use and how the basis of voting in our country was based in oppression of others is truly setting students up for more developed critical thinking skills throughout the duration of their schooling and beyond. Equality Calls should be a standard text in every single early childhood classroom, I can’t emphasize this enough. You HAVE to get your hands on a copy, it is absolutely an incredible and important book! Did I convince you yet?? If I haven’t, send me a message….
We were sent this PDF by our friends at Simon & Schuster, but all opinions are our own!
Deborah Diesen is the author of many children’s picture books, including the NYT-bestselling The Pout-Pout Fish. She loves playing with words and rhymes and rhythms. She has worked as a bookseller, a bookkeeper, and a reference librarian. She and her family live in Michigan.
Magdalena Mora is a Minneapolis-based illustrator and graphic designer with a special interest in children’s books and visual storytelling. When she isn’t drawing, she spends her free time reading, people-gawking, and trying to find the best tacos in the Twin Cities. Equality’s Call by Deborah Diesen is her first picture book. Visit her website here!