Written By: Veronica Chambers & the staff of the New York Times
Portraits Illustrated by: Monica Ahanonu, Rachelle Baker, Kristen Buchholz, Alex Cabal, Noa Denmon, Ellen Duda, Shyama Golden, Johnalynn Holland, Hillary Kempenich, Nhung Lê, Ella Trujillo, & Steffi Walthall
For Ages: 8-13 years
Topics Covered: Suffrage, BIPOC Activism, Historical Figures, Middle Grade, LGBTQ History.
Hey folx, do you remember when I posted another book about suffrage a few weeks ago? THIS BOOK IS NOT THAT. Finish the Fight gives me everything and more that I was asking for. The stories of the activists profiled inside this book are the ones we don’t learn about in school, the histories that are left out in favor of a handful of white activists.
Honest question, how many of your were aware that the Haudenosaunee along with the rest of the tribes in the Iroquois Confederacy shaped much of the founding democratic documents in the colonized US? Indigenous people and other activists of color were integral to the national women’s suffrage movement and entrenched in their own battles for citizenship and voting rights for Latinx and Indigenous people. This book does a brilliant job of combining real photographs and drawn portraits of badass women whose accomplishments have lasting effects on human and voting rights today. I loved learning about powerhouses like bilingual Susette La Flesche Tibbles who was the first Indigenous teacher on the Omaha Reservation, and became a touring speaker while translating for other Indigenous speakers lecturing about human rights-all before the year 1900!
This book was kindly sent by HMH Kids, but all opinions are my own. This book is absolutely brilliant and a must-have for any learning about the suffrage battles that waged for over a century. Any lessons taught without this book would honestly be lacking without learning about the BIPOC activism and struggles that eventually won our voting rights and citizenship. Having LGBTQ relationships acknowledged in this book too is such a revelation, honoring the true histories of these women who fought so hard to be recognized as citizens are owed at least this much.
In doing research for this post, I looked at several websites. One is Conflict Kitchen, a restaurant in Pittsburgh that serves food from different nations that the US has conflict with. They had a Haudenosaunee past menu, so I checked out the desserts and they sourced cornmeal from The Iroquois White Corn Project. Both are definitely worth checking out! I used to live in Pittsburgh, and have visited Conflict Kitchen before. They’re really cool! I actually tried to order some of the cornmeal for this recipe, but they were out until later in the fall.
Recipe: Cornmeal Cookies (with optional molasses)
1 stick soft butter
1/4c maple sugar (I also tried brown sugar but liked the taste of maple sugar more. However, brown sugar is fine!)
1/2c masa flour
1/2c all-purpose flour
splash vanilla extract
1T molasses (optional)
Cream together butter, sugar, and salt while oven heats to 375. Add in vanilla and optional molasses. Add in flour and mix until combined. You can chill the dough for a bit if it’s too soft for your liking, but I just go for it and make 1 inch balls, flattening slightly (makes about 15). Bake for 10-12 minutes, until edges are golden brown. After taking them out of the oven I let them set on the warm cookie sheet for 2-3 minutes before transferring them onto the cooling rack. I personally like them with and without the molasses, without they taste like sweet cornmeal, and with the molasses there’s an extra complex flavor that makes them less sweet. The recipe is small enough that I made several iterations (including one with sprinkled bee pollen on top) and we had a cookie taste test.
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, her work often reflects her Afro-Latina heritage.
She coauthored the award-winning memoir Yes Chef with chef Marcus Samuelsson as well as Samuelsson’s young adult memoir Make It Messy, and has collaborated on four New York Times bestsellers, most recently 32 Yolks, which she cowrote with chef Eric Ripert. She has been a senior editor at the New York Times Magazine, Newsweek, and Glamour. Born in Panama and raised in Brooklyn, she writes often about her Afro-Latina heritage. She speaks, reads, and writes Spanish, but she is truly fluent in Spanglish. She is currently a JSK Knight fellow at Stanford University.