November 22, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

Hillary: Beyond the Headlines | SLJ Spotlight

See Our Best Books of 2015

Get the latest SLJ reviews every month, subscribe today and save up to 35%.

From advocating for women’s rights as First Lady to serving as senator and secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton is an outspoken and courageous trailblazer who continues to inspire young girls and women. A variety of recent titles shed light on the politician and presidential hopeful. Blumenthal’s biography will please teens doing research and reports, while two picture books make Clinton’s life accessible to a younger audience. Markel’s girl power–infused addition and Winter’s gorgeously illustrated title will open children’s eyes to the struggles Clinton overcame on her path to greatness.

Blumenthal , Karen . Hillary Rodham Clinton: A Woman Living History. 320p. bibliog. chron. ebook available. index. notes. photos. Feiwel & Friends. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781250060143.

Gr 10 Up –More objective and even more comprehensive than Cynthia Levinson’s Hillary Rodham Hillary Rodham Clinton A Woman Living HistoryClinton: Do All the Good You Can (HarperCollins, 2016), this volume covers many aspects of Hillary Clinton’s life and achievements, from her Illinois childhood to the early days of her current presidential campaign. Blumenthal focuses on the formative experiences that shaped Clinton’s beliefs and how those principles have guided her actions throughout her life and influenced her choices about her education, work, marriage and family life, and political career. Clinton is presented as an intensely private person in a public life, and Blumenthal objectively discusses the contradictions between Clinton’s beliefs and some of her actions and examines the many controversies and scandals that have been a part of the Clintons’ lives since their early years in public service. Blumenthal’s bibliography includes a wider spectrum of sources than the Levinson title and includes Clinton’s books and statements, papers and memoirs from the Clinton archives, and sources critical of Clinton. Small photos supplement the text, and “Drawn and Quartered” sidebar reproductions of negative and positive editorial cartoons illustrate public perceptions of Clinton’s personality, life, and work. With 36 dense chapters, this book reads more like an adult work than a YA title and is occasionally dry. Its primary audience will be report writers and students who are highly interested in Clinton or politics. VERDICT A good option for libraries that need advanced research material about Clinton.–Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO

Markel, Michelle. Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead. illus. by LeUyen Pham. 40p. bibliog. chron. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780062381224.Hillary Rodham Clinton Some Girls Are Born to Lead.

Gr 1-4 –Framed in terms of the fight for equal opportunities for women, this picture book biography depicts Hillary Rodham Clinton’s story as one of endless heroic struggles on behalf of the oppressed. Clinton is described as an excellent student who took an early leadership role among her peers, was inspired by hearing a speech by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and later fearlessly advocated on behalf of women, people of color, children, and the poor. Her challenges in balancing work and family life, as well as the criticism she’s received as a woman, make her willingness to conquer each new hurdle even more impressive. Employing deft and engaging prose, Markel covers much of the same ground Kathleen Krull did with Hillary Rodham Clinton: Dreams Taking Flight (S. & S., 2008) but provides far more specific details, though Krull’s book offers a more impressionistic main text and extensive endnotes. The tone is relentlessly positive, making it difficult to get a well-rounded sense of Clinton as a person, and there is no reference to any of the political controversies surrounding her or Bill Clinton. Pham’s evocative illustrations steal the show, varying in mood from whimsical to uplifting to sobering. Particularly effective is the contrast between the opening spread, which features well-known (and sepia-toned) men of the 1950s, and the concluding pages, which depict many vibrantly diverse and notable women of the 20th and 21st centuries. VERDICT A beautifully produced, if excessively laudatory, biography of a significant contemporary political figure; recommended for general collections.–Laura Simeon, Open Window School Library, WA

Winter, Jonah. Hillary. illus. by Raúl Colón. 40p. ebook available. notes. Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Jan. 2016. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780553533880.WINTER, Jonah. Hillary.

K-Gr 2 –Winter opens this picture book biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton by comparing the presidential candidate to three other strong women in history, Queen Elizabeth I, Joan of Arc, and Rosie the Riveter. Through straightforward text that reflects his admiration for Clinton, Winter introduces her as a “scrappy” girl who “did well in school, played sports with boys, and liked to be in charge.” The author takes Clinton from an outspoken student at Wellesley College to First Lady of the United States, senator, and secretary of state, discussing her marriage to Bill Clinton and her daughter, Chelsea, along the way. Colón aptly depicts these important events using mixed-media illustrations that resemble pictures in a family album. The warm tones and soft colors personalize this story of a strong, passionate woman who works hard and is driven to succeed. Winter concludes with an author’s note that describes Clinton’s life in more detail and expresses why he chose to honor her: “By becoming president, she would demonstrate that a girl can grow up to be the most powerful person in the world. That’s the world where I want to live.” VERDICT A strong addition to biography collections.–Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NY

These titles are featured in School Library Journal’s December 2015 issue. 

Mahnaz Dar About Mahnaz Dar

Mahnaz Dar ( is Assistant Managing Editor for Library Journal and School Library Journal and can be found on Twitter @DibblyFresh.

A Day-Long Celebration of Fandom-Beloved Stories and Characters
Join Library Journal and School Library Journal for our inaugural LibraryCon Live! We’re excited to offer this day-long virtual festival for book nerds, librarians, and fans of graphic novels, sci-fi, and fantasy. Network online with other fans and explore our virtual exhibit hall where you’ll hear directly from publishers about their newest books and engage in live chats with featured authors. You’ll also learn from librarians and industry insiders on how to plan and host your own Comic Con-style event.


  1. Liberty Librarian says:

    What a shame that these authors paint such a rosy picture of a woman who has done nothing but lie to the American people for her entire career. She’s been involved in scandal after scandal, starting with Travelgate and Whitewater, and more recently the Benghazi attacks and use of her personal email for classified information. This, coupled with her acceptance of donations from foreign countries that think it’s okay to mistreat women. She’s power hungry, money hungry, and not fit to be president. Even children deserve the truth. AND they deserve books about true female role models who rise to the top with their integrity intact.