Saturday, April 1, 2023

Spring Reading 2023 A Take-Charge Girl Blazes a Trail to Congress


I have read several of Gretchen Woelfle's other books, including Mumbet's Declaration of Independence; Write On, Mercy!; and Answering the Cry for Freedom. This new title introduces young readers to Jeannette Rankin, the first woman to become a U.S. Congressional representative. 

The narrative traces Jeannette's early life in Montana, her search for a fulfilling career after college, and her reason for entry into the world of politics. "I saw that if we were to have decent laws for children," Jeannette said, "women would have to vote." From her campaign to secure women's suffrage to her eventual election to Congress, text and illustrations (acrylic ink and colored pencil) capture her energy and take-charge attitude. 

Scenes that may especially capture the attention of readers include Jeannette tending to an injured horse, the conditions in the San Francisco slums she visited, and having a glass of water hurled at her by an angry lawmaker. The inclusion of quotes from Rankin bring her personality alive; an excellent example is the page showing her letter in response to criticism that a woman's place is at home.

Back matter includes an author's note with a recap of what Congresswoman Rankin accomplished during her time in office and beyond, photos of Jeannette, a timeline of her life, and a research bibliography. Students will be impressed with Jeannette's seemingly endless determination and the legacy she has left of women serving at the national level of government.

Perfect for lessons on suffragists, elections, and women's history month. 

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