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News & Reviews

The Story of Katanji Brown Jackson



Crown Books for Young Readers

(pub.2.28.2023) 40 pages

Ages 4-8

Author: Carol Boston Weatherford

Illustrator: Ashley Evans

Character: Kentanji Brown Jackson


" From the time their daughter was born, Ketanji Brown’s parents taught her that if she worked hard and believed in herself, she could do anything. As a child, Ketanji focused on her studies and excelled, eventually graduating from Harvard Law School.

Years later, in 2016, when she was a federal judge, a seat opened on the United States Supreme Court. In a letter to then-President Barack Obama, Leila Jackson made a case for her mother—Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. Although the timing didn’t work out then, it did in 2022, when President Joe Biden nominated her. At her confirmation, Ketanji Brown Jackson became the first Black female Supreme Court justice in the United States."

Tantalizing taste:

Ketanji rose

from acting and singing to conquering the debate stage,

where she won national awards for public speaking.

Under the wing of her debate coach, Mrs. Fran Berger, Ketanji thrived.

'Mrs. Berger believed in me, and, in turn, I believed in myself."

She rose

above the debate judges who mocked her African name.

She'd respond by saying it clearly and writing it on the board:


And something more: Author Carole Boston Weatherford wrote, in part, in "A Letter to My Granddaughter and All of Our Daughters":

"The long overdue appointment confirmed what Black women had always known: We belong. I could not help but cry.

There are still obstacles to overcome, doors to open, and hills to climb. Draw on the hope and strength of your ancestors. Your place is in the sun."

The Story of a Mexican Freedom Fighter



Scholastic Press

(pub.3.7.2023) 48 pages

Author: Aida Salazar

Illustrator: Molly Mendoza

Character: Jovita Valdovinos


" Jovita dreamed of wearing pants! She hated the big skirts Abuela made her wear. She wanted to scale the tallest mesquite tree on her rancho, ride her horse, and feel the wind curl her face into a smile.

When her father and brothers joined the Cristero War to fight for religious freedom, Jovita wanted to go, too. Forbidden, she defied her father’s rules – and society’s – and found a clever way to become a trailblazing revolutionary, wearing pants!

Tantalizing taste:

" Sorrow swirled inside Jovita's heart.

Her sadness found sympathy with other Cristeros, who met one evening to form a plan for justice.

When she returned, Jovita cut her long hair short. Next, she put on Ramon's cotton shirt, overalls, riding boots, and wide-brimmed straw hat. Jovita was reborn as a pants-wearing coronel named Juan. She was ready to reignite the revolution."

And something more: Aida Salazar, in the Author's Note explains that "Jovita Valdovinos was my distant great-aunt...My mother says that Jovita was a 'gran señora, a "great lady," and that whileshe was relatively small in stature, her presence was as large as the Mexican mesquite tree which they sat when she visited.

The information in this book is taken primarily from Joviat's memoir, as well as from anecdotes and personal interviews. No person is entirely good or bad, and Jovita's life was as rich as it was complex."

Shirley Chisholm's Fight for Change



Millbrook Press

(Lerner Books)

(pub.11.1.2022) 32 pages

Author: Tameka Fryer Brown

Illustrator: Nina Crews

Character: Shirley Chisholm


" Brooklyn-born Shirley Chisholm was smart and ambitious. She poured her energy into whatever she did―from teaching young children to becoming Brooklyn’s first Black assemblywoman. Not afraid to blaze a trail, she became the first Black woman elected to Congress and the first woman to seriously run for US president. With a vision of liberty and justice for all, she worked for equal rights, for the environment, for children, and for health care. Even now, her legacy lives on and inspires others to continue her work . . . which is not done yet."

Tantalizing taste:

" A little schoolteacher can't lead us, they said.

What we need is a big, strong man.

This made women furious!

Show them with your vote,

Shirley said.

They did ... and she won!

The first Black woman ever elected to Congress!

She made history!

But she wasn't done yet."

And something more: In A Note About Quotations, Tameka Fryer Brown explains "Shirley Chisholm was a powerful, eloquent speaker. In writing her story as a narrative free verse poem, I made the decision to paraphrase her statements, and those of others, to maintain poetic form and ensure the text would be accessible to young readers. Statements in the main text are all based on things Chisholm said or recounted ...[The following] statements on the endsheets and back cover are exact quotes of hers..."

"Don't listen to those who say you can't. Listen to the voice inside yourself that says, 'I CAN.'"

-Shirley Chisholm

Where to find Jeanne Walker Harvey books

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