Loud and Proud: The Life of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm

S. & S./Paula Wiseman. Sept. 2023. 48p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781534463523.
Gr 2-5–History shines in this rousing biography of Shirley Chisholm. The expansive story follows the course of the congresswoman’s life, from her childhood through her political career, culminating in her historic presidential campaign. Cline-Ransome’s well-chosen language contrasts the narrow-minded contempt of the establishment with Chisholm’s spirit and defiance: “When they told her to slow down, Shirley worked quickly...When they told her to remember her place, Shirley made her own place.” Juanita’s digital art, in vignettes and full bleeds, depicts Chisholm’s tireless forward march through education and politics. Some illustrations contain straightforward snapshots of moments small and large—a family bedroom, a local rally, a spectacular fireworks display at the Capitol. Others focus on close-up views of objects, such as ballot boxes, food stamps, and presidential campaign buttons, to clarify key political concepts. In an inspired visual motif, Juanita renders the characters’ speech as clouds emerging from their mouths (some empty and some containing important pull quotes from the story), a literal treatment of their words’ energy and outward spread. While the word clouds of her naysayers are gray, spiked, and threatening, Chisholm’s appear light blue and fluid, like a joyful tidal wave.
VERDICT A first purchase, this excellent treatment of a trailblazing political figure will serve as a stepping stone from shorter picture books to chapter books for young lovers of biography.

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