Madam ­Speaker: Nancy Pelosi Calls the House to Order

Little Bee. Sept. 2021. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781499811896.
Gr 1-4–As a child, Nancy Pelosi stuffed envelopes, handed out leaflets, and held the Bible as her father, Mayor Thomas D’Alesandro of Baltimore, was sworn into office. Additional childhood details are offered, including Pelosi’s Catholic upbringing and education, as well as her political work while raising a family, her election to Congress, and 20 years later, her rise to become the first female Speaker of the House. Pelosi’s advocacy and fight on behalf of children in poverty, gay rights, women, and the children of undocumented immigrants are all mentioned, as well as her work on the Affordable Care Act. Her determination and tenacity as a woman devoted to public service shine through, supported by abundant, relevant pull-quotes—one on nearly every spread. The book ends in 2018 with Pelosi taking the oath of Speaker of the House for the second time, and, surrounded by children, calling Congress to order. Hsu’s stylized figures and use of color and detail add energy and a bit of humor (e.g., Pelosi dancing to rock ‘n’ roll as a teen). This work complements Elisa Boxer’s A Seat at the Table, a biography that emphasizes Pelosi’s struggle as a woman in politics, with fewer specifics on the causes Pelosi has championed. There is nary a mention of her equally powerful political detractors holding seats in Washington.
VERDICT An engaging introduction to the most powerful woman in current American politics.

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