Saturday, December 10, 2016

Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead

I typed this prior to the November, 2016 election.  I did not want to publish it prior to the election.  It continues to ring true regardless of the outcome that this picture book biography is a beautiful one that highlights the life of a remarkable leader. 
Obviously, this picture book biography is a timely one.  Like so many around the country, I have been doing my research on all of the candidates and this book does an excellent job of summing up much of what I have learned about HRC’s long and multi-faceted history.  I had read about her college graduation speech and time spent as class president at Wellsley but was not aware of examples, even from her young childhood, of working for justice.  As I read this book to my daughter, she exclaimed, “Did she really do all of these things?”  And I was proud to reply, “Yes.”  Michelle Markel does an excellent job of highlighting anecdotes from Hillary’s youth, her accomplishments, and trials.  

I am a big fan of LeUyen Pham’s illustrations having first noted her attention to detail in The Boy Who Loved Math about the life of Paul Erdos and I continue to be a fan of her work in The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale.  In reading her bio in this book, I hadn’t even realized that she also illustrated both Grace for President and Freckleface Strawberry.  All that to say what stands out to me in these illustrations from the start is her use of muted colors for other people and bright colors for Hillary.  In a sense, she was living in a very black and white world and looks to change that.  To change the role of women in many different arenas.  As time passes, the environment around her changes too.  Others catch on and move forward.  I love the illustration featuring the transparent ghost of Eleanor Roosevelt, one of Clinton’s inspirations.

The attention to detail by both Pham and Markel and thorough Timeline, Artist’s Notes, and Selected Bibliography all support their decisions on what to include in this exemplary picture book biography.

Title: Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls Are Born to Lead
Author: Michelle Markel
Illustrator: LeUyen Pham
Published 2016 by Balzer + Bray
ISBN: 978-0-06-238122-4

This copy was received from the publisher to review.

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