Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Susan B. Anthony: Champion of Women’s Rights

Susan B. Anthony: Champion of Women’s Rights

Helen Albee Monsell
Illustrator:  Al Fiorentino 
For ages 8 to 12
Simon and Schuster, 1986   ISBN: 978-0020418009

Susan B. Anthony’s name will forever be identified with the stern looking lady who made an enormous contribution to the women’s rights movement. Of course she wasn’t always this famous woman. Long before that she was a little girl living first in Massachusetts and the in New York State. She was a clever child and was keen to have an education, something which many people in those days felt was not necessary (or desirable) for girls. She also liked to do things her own way and took pride in herself when she succeeded in some difficult task. Most of all she liked to have adventures, to try new things, and to stretch her wings as much as her society would allow.

The daughter of a Quaker, Susan belonged to a community that was more open to the idea that women and men were equals but she still saw, as she went about her chores and briefly when she worked in a mill, that there was much inequality in her world. She saw that most women was expected to follow their husband’s lead in all things. Susan saw too that girls and women had very few choices in life and any money that a working girl did earn belonged not to the person who earned the money but to her father or husband. Observing these things as she grew up influenced the decisions that she later made when she was a grown woman.

It is fascinating to see how Susan B. Anthony came to be the hard-working women’s rights advocate that we read about in history books. This account shows us what she was like underneath. We learn that she loved the outdoors as a child and wanted to climb trees. We also ‘watch’ as she develops her ideas about women and their place in the world. We see how her courage and determination earned her the respect of hundreds of people, many of whom did not agree with her ideas or her hopes for the future of women.

This is one of the titles in the excellent “Childhood of Famous Americans” series.