Welcome to the monthly children’s book review feature with a focus on diverse books here at Bird Meets Worm! My team of reviewers—Joan Charles, Sharon Calle—and I are so excited to be championing books celebrating everything from gender diversity, people of color, the LGBTQ community to ethnic, cultural and religious minorities, people with disabilities and developmental challenges to controversial topics, unique family situations and anything and everything I did not include. It is to say we take a rightfully board view of diversity! We aim to shine a light on books that bring both familiar experiences to those who do not often see themselves represented in books and new experiences to those looking to expand their worldview. Here at Bird Meets Worm we believe in the power of story to build empathy and thus a better world for you and me and everyone. Look for a new review on the second Wednesday of every month. (And yes, this month's review is a day early in deference to Hurricane Florence!)
A LADY HAS THE FLOOR: BELVA LOCKWOOD SPEAKS OUT FOR WOMEN'S RIGHTS
By Kate Hannigan • Illustrated by Alison Jay
Picture Book (ages 7+) • 32 Pages
Published by Calkins Creek • 2018
A Lady Has the Floor is the rollicking account of the extraordinary life of Belva Lockwood, the most interesting, dynamic, and influential woman you’ve never heard of.
From earliest childhood, Belva refused to let the fact that she was a girl get in her way. Over the objections of her father, she enrolled in college, graduating from Genesee College with honors in 1857 (but not without a fight)!
After teaching in New York schools for several years, Belva was eager for new challenges. She moved to Washington DC after the Civil War, where she entered law school. She was one of the first women in America to earn a law degree (but not without a fight)! As an attorney, she championed the rights of the poor, the weak, and those without a voice, eventually becoming the first female to argue before the Supreme Court (but not without a fight)!
Perhaps her greatest fight was the struggle for women’s suffrage. Not only did she campaign vigorously for a woman’s right to vote, she actually ran for President twice – in 1884 and 1888. And although she lost, Belva’s candidacy was another important battle in her lifelong war to secure equal rights and opportunities for women.
Especially timely in an election year when a record number of women are running for public office, Belva’s story is a testament to the power of saying yes to your own dreams and aspirations – even when everyone around you is saying no.
Alison Jay’s illustrations are the perfect complement to Kate Hannigan’s lively text. Painted in soft, glowing colors in her signature naïve style, Alison shows us a strong, secure Belva striding across the pages just as she strode through life, checking items off her cosmic “to do” list, while leaving a better world in her wake.
“Fight, fight, fight everlastingly – not with your claws and fists, but with your wits.” – Belva Lockwood
Buy this book:
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Reviewed by: Joan Charles