Mar 29, 2014

An End-of-Month Concession to Women's History Month


by Cokie Roberts, Illustrated by Diane Goode

Harper Collins Children's Books, 2014
Despite my best efforts to avoid theme month posts in this year's cycle of books, I find myself losing will power toward the end of each month. Today and tomorrow, as March winds down (not that you'd know it from stepping outdoors around here), I'm featuring some titles in hopes that readers will find and use them beyond the arbitrary boundaries of March, Women's History Month. It officially becomes "poetry month" in a few days, and it's my heartfelt hope that poems are  permeating classrooms, library displays, and family readings throughout the year. So,too, should books like these reach readers around the calendar, not get back-shelved until "next March".

Full disclaimer- I went into this recent release as a fan of both Cokie Roberts and Diane Goode. They never disappoint, and in this case they exceeded my already high expectations. 
Cokie Roberts, ABC News Reporter, Author
 The content (in word and image) offers a portal to the past, and to the women who are most often ignored or mentioned in 25 words or less when reading or speaking of the early days of this country. Perhaps it's due to her experience as an on-air reporter, but Roberts has managed to incorporate extensive meticulous research into fluent and engaging prose. It reads aloud well, which is no surprise, and I can hear her physical and writing voice clearly in every line. Passages offer text with digestible length, language, and detail to be read independently and used as mentor text by established readers, even younger ones.

Diane Goode, Author, Illustrator

Goode's  illustrations enhance and extend each featured profile, including hints of personality, rich elements of the setting, and "asides": small sketches portraying responses of male figures of the time. The design of book, as it should, contributes further to the sense of time and place, using paper colors and end pages that echo documents of the times.

This remarkable production should be in every elementary classroom and is a perfect (and necessary) fit for anyone reading about American history.

It's been widely praised, so don't take my word for it. Find out why Kirkus (which does not always respond with admiration to celebrity offerings for young readers) gave it a starred review.

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