Around America to Win the Vote: Two Suffragists, a Kitten, and 10,000 Miles
August 02, 2016
In April 1916, Nell Richardson and Alice Burke set out from New York City in a little yellow car, embarking on a bumpy, muddy, unmapped journey ten thousand miles long. They took with them a teeny typewriter, a tiny sewing machine, a wee black kitten, and a message for Americans all across the country: Votes for Women! The women’s suffrage movement was in full swing, and Nell and Alice would not let anything keep them from spreading the word about equal voting rights for women. Braving blizzards, deserts, and naysayers—not to mention a whole lot of tires stuck in the mud—the two courageous friends made their way through the cities and towns of America to further their cause. One hundred years after Nell and Alice set off on their trip, Mara Rockliff revives their spirit in a lively and whimsical picture book, with exuberant illustrations by Hadley Hooper bringing their inspiring historical trek to life.
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
Car travel at this point in history was very dangerous. There were few paved roads, and maps and directions themselves were difficult to find. Cars regularly broke down, and drivers had to be proficient in auto maintenance and had to carry gasoline with them. For two women to make the trip at the time is extraordinary and shows their fervent devotion to their cause.
Around America to Win the Vote is a great introduction to a topic that might surprise many young readers, most of whom feel that the world has always been the way it is. It will be a revelation to them that people thought that Alice and Nell should have stayed at home and sewed, but the women brought the sewing machine along to prove that they could sew and give speeches about equality at the same time. The notes and bibliography at the end of the book are helpful in providing direction for further study.
The brightly colored illustrations give a happy air to this book and show the styles and travel conditions of the time. I would have liked to see some photos of the two. Still, this is exactly the sort of picture book nonfiction I am seeking for middle school students-- interesting, informative, and a sneaky way to have them learn about important topics.
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