Review: She Persisted

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Chelsea Clinton introduces tiny feminists, mini activists and little kids who are ready to take on the world to thirteen inspirational women who never took no for an answer, and who always, inevitably and without fail, persisted.

One of the (albeit very minor) challenges of being a Canadian librarian and book blogger is that there can often be a significant delay between seeing a book on an American book blog and finding a copy at your local library. I had seen this book praised on countless blogs before I finally got my hands on a copy.

This is a beautiful book. The illustrations are soft and sweet, and feature each trailblazing female both as a child and as an adult, reinforcing to young readers that these inspiring role models were once children just like them.

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The women themselves are a fascinating bunch, too, representing social justice crusaders, scientists, creators and more, providing ample proof that women are more than capable of excelling in any field they choose. There’s also a great mix of very famous figures and less familiar females.

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Still, as much as I enjoyed the book, I couldn’t shake the feeling that none of the women were really given their full due. I understand that the book is meant for younger audiences, and that each figure is only given a brief entry to allow more women to be included, but I just felt that the descriptions of each life came up a bit short. I wanted more information in each biography – even just dates, to provide a bit of historical context. Having a sense of when each woman lived could help young readers better understand the world in which each figure lived. Also, the phrase “she persisted” doesn’t quite seem to capture how much blood, sweat, tears and often years went into these women’s achievements, and just how much each female fought and risked along the way.

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I think I would have preferred a book with fewer, but more detailed, descriptions, which could give readers a better sense of just how incredibly brave and strong and inspiring these women were. The brief paragraphs just didn’t quite satisfy me, and I hope that young readers will be inspired to read and learn more about each fascinating pioneer.

Still a beautiful, necessary book, She Persisted is perhaps best used as a starting point for ongoing discussions about female pioneers that will hopefully inspire new generations of young women.

She Persisted

Hardcover, 32 pages
May 30, 2017 : Philomel Books
Source: Library

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