News & Reviews

Patsy Takemoto Mink

and the Fight for Title IX



Quill Tree Books

(Haper Collins Publishers)

(pub.1.25.22) 48 pages

Author: Jen Bryant

Illustrator: Toshiki Nakamura

Character: Patsy Takemoto Mink


"From a young age, Patsy Takemoto Mink learned that striving for goals came with challenges. But she also learned to never give up. As the Japanese proverb says: fall down seven times, stand up eight.

That spirit helped Patsy through school. She wanted to become a doctor, but at the time, medical schools didn’t admit women. So Patsy carved her own path. She went to law school, ran for a seat in the United States Congress, and helped create Title IX, the law that requires federally funded schools to treat boys and girls equally. Although many people tried to knock her down, Patsy—a historic trailblazer who spent her life fighting for fairness—always got up again!"

Tantalizing taste:

" At home, Patsy learned about traditions like the Daruma doll:

how to paint in one eye, work hard for a goal,

and then paint in the other eye to show you reached it.

When she touched the doll, it rolled over ... but then it sprang right back!

Fall down seven times, stand up eight.

It was an old Japanese saying that means never give up."

And something more: Jen Bryant, in the Author's Note, explains that "when four-year-old Patsy Takemoto followed her older brother into his classroom on the first day of school, everyone laughed. She'll get tired of it and quit, the adults predicted. But Patsy proved she belonged there. Years later, when she ran for the Hawaiian legislature, no one in her male-dominated Democratic Party thought she could win. But Patsy convinced people she could do a better job than the men - and she won.

And when, as a US Congresswoman, she co-sponsored a bill that required schools receiving government funds to treat men and women equally, few believed it would pass. But it did."

Leading the Minute Women in the Fight for Independence



Calkins Creek

(pub. 2.1.2022) 48 pages

Author: Beth Anderson

Illustrator: Susan Reagan

Character: Prudence Wright


"Prudence Wright had a spark of independence.

Annoyed when the British king held back freedoms in colonial Massachusetts, feisty and fearless Prudence had enough. She said no! to British goods, determined to rely on her resourcefulness and ingenuity to get by. And when British troops continued to threaten the lives of her family and community, she assembled and led the 'minute women' of Pepperell to break free of tradition.

This untold story of a courageous and brave woman from the Revolutionary War continues to inspire today."

Tantalizing taste:

" Prudence and the women sewed scraps of cloth into quilts. When talk turned to the possibility of war, her stitches lurched out of line. Ripping them back, straightening them out, she studied the quilt - small pieces, repeating patterns. She scanned the circle of women. Small actions, too, might form a pattern - a pattern of rebellion."

And something more: Beth Anderson, in the Author's Research Note, explains that "As with many historical events, the research leaves us with unanswered questions. Some might also wonder if Prudence's choice that night changed history. After reading all the research and corresponding with a few of today's women of Pepperell, the answer is yes. Even though we're not able to evaluate the military significance of her actions, there's no doubt that she emboldened the women of her time to break free of tradition and participate more fully in society. Not only that, her story continues to inspire us today."

How Larry Doby Smashed the Color Barrier in Baseball



Clarion Books

(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

(pub.1.4.2022) 40 pages

Author: Audrey Vernick

Illustrator: Cannaday Chapman

Character: Larry Doby


"In 1947, Larry Doby signed with the Cleveland Indians, becoming the first Black player in the American leagues. He endured terrible racism, both from fans and his fellow teammates. Despite this, he became a unifying force on and off the field, and went on to become a seven-time All Star.

Illustrated with Cannaday Chapman’s bold, stylized illustrations, this exceptional biography tells the story of an unsung hero who not only opened doors for those behind him, but set amazing records during his Hall of Fame career. More significantly, it examines the long fight to overcome racism in sports and our culture at large, a fight that is far from over."

Tantalizing taste:

"That year, Jackie Robinson was playing with the minor league Montreal Royals. The next season, Jackie made his major-league debut with the Dodgers. He was voted Rookie of the Year. But he faced terrible racism. Opposing players and spectators alike screamed insults. There were threats made against him and his family.

The world can be a mess when it's changing.

But it had started to change.

Jackie opened the door. And Larry followed closely behind ..."

And something more: Audrey Vernick, in the Author's Note, explains that "When Larry, now a celebrated World Series hero, returned to Paterson, New Jersey, in 1948 to buy a home with [his wife] Helyn, residents of that all-white neighborhood started a petition to stop them. Ultimately, the mayor of Paterson stepped up to help. Larry and Helyn raised five children together.

In forging through very difficult circumstances, Larry helped clear the road for those behind him. 'If you can take the negatives and make them positive, then you're making it better for the next person who comes along,' he said."

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

Jeanne has reviewed over 170 picture book biographies here and

previously on her blog  titled  TRUE TALES