NONFICTION

The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World

Candlewick. Oct. 2020. 160p. Tr $16.99. ISBN 9781536210330.
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Gr 7 Up–Robb (granddaughter of Lady Bird Johnson) and Roberts (daughter of Cokie Roberts) employ a witty, conversational tone to detail the history of the U.S. suffragist movement and provide a guide for young advocates. Each section begins with strategies such as setting goals, taking risks, building networks, and recruiting allies. Then the text reveals the fascinating stories of how suffragists used these tactics. Well-known activists are featured, such as Lucy Stone, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, and Ida B. Wells. Many lesser-known women are also spotlighted, including Mary Church Terrell and her work with the National Association of Colored Women and Frances Ellen Watkins Harper, who was a poet and helped to integrate the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. There are some entertaining anecdotes. For example, Susan B. Anthony often said before her speeches, “I stand before you a convicted criminal,’’ as she was once arrested for voting. There are some horrifying ones: An angry mob demanded that Sojourner Truth undress to prove she was a woman. The authors don’t shy away from describing the racism in the movement. Readers get a clear idea of the challenges of fighting for social change.
VERDICT This highly enjoyable and relatable book belongs in most middle, high school, and public library collections.

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