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Yes She Can: 10 Stories of Hope & Change from Young Female Staffers of the Obama White House

228p. Random/Schwartz & Wade. Mar 2019. Tr $18.99 ISBN 9781984848451.
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Gr 8 Up—Each essay in this collection zooms in on a significant day in the life of a young Obama Administration staffer, lending an exciting "Choose Your Own Adventure" quality to descriptions of working at a level that few will experience. Imagining oneself in the author's shoes is part of the fun, since each speaker communicates both relatable disbelief at her circumstances, and the sort of extreme competence you'd expect from a person in a leadership role at the White House in their (mostly early) 20's. Certain details of life in the administration appear in multiple accounts—Joe Biden going long with a speech; late nights and early arrivals; eating junk food (including "Presidential M&Ms") instead of dinner—as do deeper threads, like feeling the power of mentorship and the weight of helming efforts to fix pressing problems like human trafficking, or the complexity and risks inherent in taking on foster care or immigration reform. Several standout essays capture the power of having a seat at the table, as a child or grandchild of immigrants, and what it feels like to see other Latinx, African American, and Asian women in positions of authority. A foreword by actress Yara Shahidi (star of grown-ish) and a useful final chapter, "A Girl's Guide to Getting Into Government," round out a satisfying and inspirational anthology.
VERDICT Readers of all ages who need a shot of hope, and especially young people planning to change the world, will learn from and enjoy this book.

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