Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World

Chelsea Clinton
Illustrator:  Alexandra Boiger 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Penguin, 2017   ISBN: 978-1524741723

For centuries society has told women that they could not get an education, could not work outside the home, could not own property, could not drive a car, could not do the same jobs as men, could not vote. They have faced a wall of could nots and should nots. And yet they have persisted and did those things that mattered to them most, in spite of it all.

In this book readers will meet thirteen women who refused to toe the line; who refused to accept that they were lesser people because they were born female. The first woman we meet is Harriet Tubman, who escaped from a life of slavery and who then chose to be a conductor on the Underground Railroad. Every time she helped someone escape to freedom Harriet risked her own freedom, and every person she assisted “arrived safely.”

Nellie Bly was a reporter, and in part she took on the challenge of reporting the news because a male writer said that working women were “a monstrosity.” These words made Nellie want to prove that women could do anything that they wanted to. She set about exposing shocking stories to help others. For one story she pretended to be a patient in a mental hospital so that she could tell the world about the horrific way the patients were treated.

Oprah Winfrey’s grandmother expected that her granddaughter would follow in her footsteps and become a maid. Being both female and African American meant that very few doors were open for Oprah to step through. Oprah refused to be locked into a life that she did not want, and through hard work and determination she became “a media superstar.”

For each of the thirteen women featured in this book readers will read a little about their life, and they will find a quote that beautifully captures each woman’s fighting spirit. Throughout the book evocative pieces of artwork accompany the text to give readers an altogether memorable reading experience.