February 19, 2018

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison | SLJ Review

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redstarHARRISON, Vashti. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History. illus. by Vashti Harrison. 96p. filmog. further reading. notes. websites. Little, Brown. Dec. 2017. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9780316475112. POP

K-Gr 4 –An artist’s social media sensation is lovingly brought to life in this standout title. Initially a personal project for Black History Month, Harrison’s collection highlights 40 notable black women throughout U.S. history. Each entry includes two to three paragraphs of biographical text, opposite which nearly identical figures (most are drawn facing forward with cherubic smiles and closed eyes) hold center stage of their full-page portrait, framed by simple yet clever backgrounds that contextualize their achievements. Audre Lorde, for example, stands before muted brown bookshelves—keen eyes will discern that the books displayed feature her poetry and prose. Leadership is embraced in forms past and present and across various disciplines; renowned abolitionists Harriet Tubman and Sojourner Truth are joined by Air Force General Marcelite J. Harris and filmmaker Julie Dash. A concluding “More Little Leaders” segment addresses the difficulty of selecting 40 women to represent a historical legacy and offers miniature renditions of additional icons, including Gabby Douglas, Lorraine Hansberry, and the Williams sisters. Useful back matter provides multimedia sources for inevitably curious readers. The amount of information included makes this book ideal for budding researchers or for small groups, although the heartwarming digital images will garner a younger audience, too—kids of all ages will love poring over Harrison’s tender artwork. VERDICT Beautifully designed and chock-full of information, this is a fantastic survey of black women who made and continue to make history. A must-have for youth nonfiction collections.–Ashleigh ­Williams, School Library Journal

This review was published in the School Library Journal January 2018 issue.

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