Leading the Way by Sen. Janet Howell and Theresa Howell

Leading the Way: Women in Power

Senator Janet Howell and Theresa Howell, Authors

Kylie Akia and Alexandra Bye, Illustrators

Candlewick Press, Nonfiction, Oct. 8, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 10 and up

Pages: 144

Themes: Women, Leadership, Character, Dreams, Making a Difference, Role Models

Favorite Introduction quote from Senator Howell: “It is amazingly powerful to see women in roles of leadership. If girls can see it, they can believe it. They know they can become it.”

Book Synopsis:

Meet fifty of America’s most influential women leaders, including Shirley Chisholm, the first African-American woman elected to Congress; Susana Martinez, the first Latina governor ever elected in the U.S.; Patsy Takemoto Mink, the first woman of color and the first Asian-American elected to congress; and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first woman to serve as a justice on the United States Supreme Court.  Serving in government or active in politics at all levels, both local and national, and representing a diverse panorama of personal backgrounds and political views, they stood up, blazed trails, and led the way. Here are the stories of how they rose to power, along with a take-action guide for today’s readers. Fascinating and accessible, this is a timely and inspirational tribute to some of the most extraordinary Americans of our time and all time.

Why I like this book:

Senator Howell and her daughter Theresa Howell, have written an inspiring book for girls about 50 of the most exhilarating and exciting women in America who have made a difference. Leading the Way is not about political parties by any means. It is about powerful women.

With the 100th anniversary of women winning the right to vote approaching in 2020, this book is a compelling tribute to the women of the past and present who have overcome incredible hurdles, challenged the status quo, and paved a path for the many girls who will read their stories and dream big. Their stories are like a compass pointing the way. They are teachers and role models who will undoubtedly challenge the girls of today to make their mark in their own special way.

The book design is exceptional and easy to read. There is beautiful portrait, famous quotes, and a story about each woman. There is a Power Symbol Guide of eight important character traits that great leaders have developed along their journey (i.e. Integrity, Community, Diligence, Courage, Empathy, Persistance etc.).  Readers are asked to look for the symbols at the beginning that accompanies each of the 50 women. And there is a beautiful foreword by Hillary Rodham Clinton.

This book will be a wonderful addition to any school or home library. It is especially a good book for mothers and daughters to read together and discuss.  Oh how wish I had a book like this when I was a girl in school.

Compliments of Candlewick Press

Resource: Make sure you check out “How To Stand Up, Speak Out, and Make a Difference: A Take-Action Guide,”at the end of the book. It is full of  infromation and suggestions that will inspire readers to examine their passions and start in a place they know best — their neighborhoods, schools and communities.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy provided by the publisher.

I Am Farmer by Baptiste and Miranda Paul

I Am Famer: Growing an Environmental Movement in Cameroon

Baptiste & Miranda Paul, Authors

Elizabeth Zunon, Illustrator

Millbrook Press, Nonfiction,  Feb. 5, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 7-11

Themes: Farmer, Agriculture, Cameroon, Environmentalism, Making a difference

Opening: This is Northwestern Cameroon. Green. Wet. Alive. The rainy season has begun.

Book Synopsis: When Tantoh Nforba was a child, he loved the dirt and all that grew in his grandmother’s garden. In school, his fellow students mocked him by calling him Farmer. His older brother told him to study hard so he could one day get a job in an office. But Tantoh knew that wasn’t the right path for him. Instead he listened to his heart.

Today Tantoh is proud to call himself Farmer. Farmer Tantoh is an environmental leader, bringing clean water and bountiful organic gardens to the central African nation of Cameroon.  He is also the founder of the international charity Save Your Future Association.

Why I like this book:

Baptiste and Miranda Paul’s book is my favorite kind of story to share — children who see a problem and try to make a difference in their communities. In this case it is a boy from Cameroon, Tantoh Nforba, who loves nature, gardening and farming. He learns as much as he can from his grandmother and at school, eventually studies agriculture in the United States and returns to help his country. He finds ways to save the rain, find clean underground water and grow crops without poisoning the soil. It is also a story about how Tantoh discovers his greatest resources is the people in his community who work together to produce food, flowers and green spaces.  This is a book for readers who want to make a difference.

The full-page, mixed-media illustrations by Elizabeth Zunon are beautiful, colorful, and lively. Many include collages which add texture and meaning to the story. The book also includes pictures of Farmer Tantoah, Cameroon, maps, Author’s Note, a glossary and many more pictures of the community at work.

Resources: Encourage your children to grow seeds during the winter so they can plant in their very own gardens in the spring and summer. Encourage them to get the hands dirty and tend to the watering, weeding and the harvesting of produce and flowers they grow. The book is an excellent resource for parents and teachers.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website. 

*Reviewed from a purchased copy.

Say Something! by Peter H. Reynolds

Say Something!

Peter H. Reynolds, Author & Illustrator

Orchard Books/Imprint of Scholastic Inc. , Fiction, Feb. 26, 2019

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Themes: Using your voice, Making a difference, Diversity

Opening: The world needs your voice. 

Book Synopsis: The world needs your voice. Say something, with your words, with your music, with your poetry, with your courage and with your presence. It doesn’t need to be perfect as long as it’s from your heart. If you see someone lonely or being hurt, say something. If you have a great idea, share it with others.

Why I love this book:

Peter H. Reynolds’ newest gem, Say Something, is an inspiring, powerful and thought-provoking story that encourages children to use their voices to make a difference in their communities and world. Say Something pairs beautifully with Reynolds’ books Happy Dreamer and The Word Collector. Written for young readers, children have the power to make a difference through their thoughts, voices and actions. Reynolds’ text is lyrical and spare. His expressive illustrations feature diverse characters and will help kids see themselves. They will enjoy pouring over the detail and a fun word bubbles. Check out the endpapers.

This is my favorite kind of picture book because it introduces children to activism. Children naturally want to be involved and do things that help others or a greater cause. Say Something encourages children to be kind, creative, imaginative, bold, brave and step outside of their comfort zone to make their world a better place. This is an excellent classroom read-aloud and discussion book.

Resources: After reading the book, explore with children the many ways the characters say something. There is a detailed Teacher’s Guide that is packed with ideas about using all three books in the classroom. It will easily support school curriculums and encourage kids to find and use their voices in many unique ways. Visit

Peter Hamilton Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author and illustrator of many books for children, including The Dot, Ish, Playing from the Heart, Happy Dreamer and The Word Collector. His books have been translated into over twenty-five languages around the globe and are celebrated worldwide. In 1996, he founded FableVision with his brother, Paul, as a social change agency to help create “stories that matter, stories that move.” He lives in Dedham, Massachusetts, with his family. Visit Reynolds at his website.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

She Persisted All Around the World by Chelsea Clinton

Remember the United Nation’s 

International Day of the Girl Child, Oct. 11, 2018

She Persisted All Around the World

Chelsea Clinton, Author

Alexandra Boiger, Illustrator

Philomel Books, Nonfiction, Mar. 6, 2018

Suitable for Ages: 4-8

Theme: Girls, Women, Diversity, Pursuing dreams, Persistence, Making a difference

Opening: It’s not always easy being a girl — anywhere in the world. It’s especially challenging in some places. There are countries where it’s hard for girls to go to school and where women need their husband’s permission to get a passport or even t o leave the house.

Synopsis:

Women around the world have long dreamed big, even when they’ve been told their dreams didn’t matter. They’ve spoken out, risen up and fought for what’s right, even when they’ve been told to be quiet. Whether in science, the arts, sports or activism, women and girls throughout history have been determined to break barriers and change the status quo. They haven’t let anyone get in their way and have helped us better understand our world and what’s possible. In this companion book to She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, Chelsea Clinton introduces readers to a group of thirteen incredible women who have shaped history all across the globe.

She Persisted Around the World is a book for everyone who has ever aimed high and been told to step down, for everyone who has ever raised their voice and been told to quiet down, and for everyone who has ever felt small, unimportant or unworthy.

Why I like this book:

Chelsea Clinton’s inspiring book empowers/encourages girls worldwide to nurture their big dreams and never give up.  There may be difficult times, but they must be true to themselves and fight for what they believe. Challenges build character and resilience and leads to success. It’s important for girls to find the power inside them and believe in it so they will one day be the next generation of doctors, scientists, environmentalists, artists, leaders, authors, astronauts and athletes.

This is what girls will learn as they delve into the stories of 13 ground-breaking women who never give-up despite the extraordinary challenges they faced. There are some familiar faces like Joanne (J.K.) Rowling, author of the bestselling Harry Potter series ; Marie Curie’s work in radioactivity; Malala Yousafzai’s tireless work to promote better education for girls globally; and Yuan Yuan Tan who against many odds, becomes the most famous Chinese ballerina of all times, performing at the San Francisco Ballet.

And the not-so-familiar women like Dr. Mary Verghese who loses the use of her legs in a car accident, and founds the first functional rehabilitation center in India; Leymah Gbowee who lives through the two Liberian civil war and unites thousands of Christian and Muslim women to peacefully protest and help end the war; and Aisha Rateb who was the first woman appointed to Egypt’s highest court, 50 years after she was first told she couldn’t be a judge.

Alexandra Boiger’s lively watercolors and ink illustrations showcase each motivating story. I like the book’s format. Each girl/woman is given a double-page spread with her motivating story shared on the inside page and a full illustration on the opposite page that also includes an important quote from the woman. This book belongs in every school library and pairs nicely with Clinton’s first book, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.

Resources: Encourage students to name someone in their family, school, community, country and world that they feel has made a contribution. Even children are making changes in their world. Have kids draw a picture of the individual and write a short paragraph about what this person has done to help others. Also check out the UN’s International Day of the Girl Child.

Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.

*Book: Library Copy