Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass

Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass
Co-Authors / Illustrators
Age Range
Release Date
January 05, 2016
Some people had rights, while others had none. Why shouldn't they have them, too? Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea. The text by award-winning writer Dean Robbins teaches about the fight for women's and African Americans' rights in an accessible, engaging manner for young children. Two Friends is beautifully illustrated by Selina Alko and Sean Qualls, the husband-and-wife team whose The Case for Loving received three starred reviews! Two Friends includes back matter with photos of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass.

Editor review

1 review
Two Friends--Two Allies
Overall rating
Writing Style
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Learning Value
A simple, visually engrossing introduction to the concept of equality.

Two champions of human rights meet for tea. The premise is interesting, as well as historically accurate. Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass did indeed become friends in the mid 1800’s, drawn together by the similarity of their causes. Equal right and freedom for all. And as the Author’s note at the very end reveals in more significant detail, both won their battles.

Word density and fonts vary widely from page to page, which promotes a full examination of the artwork and stands a greater chance of holding interest. While minimal, the two protagonist’s backstories are paralleled with a consistency that lends a pleasing balance. Between the word choices and sparing number of words per page, I suspect this book would better suit the younger side of the intended picture book spectrum.

Personally, this reader was hoping for a little more thorough look at the inequality of the time period. When it’s mentioned that Fredrick Douglas grew up as a slave in the South, for instance, it feels as though the story would have been educationally enriched by a little more explanation of what being a slave entailed. (The book does say that slaves “had to do everything the master said,” and insinuates that Douglas had to learn to read and write in secret. But it felt like a missed opportunity to elaborate on the fact that they were considered property to be bought, sold, and worked against their will.) Page space is also spent setting the opening and closing scenes, when it seems more efficient to allow the vivid illustrations to handle that element of the storytelling.

"So many speeches to give.
"So many articles to write.
"So many minds to change."

On the whole, this beautiful 32 page work presents strong potential as social and historical tool for children ages 4-8.
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