Saturday, November 6, 2010

Review: The Day the Women Got the Vote

Title: The Day the Women Got the Vote: a Photo History of the Women's Rights Movement
Author: George Sullivan
Genre: Non-fiction (great for YA)
Pages: 92
Rating: 5 out of 5
Challenges: YA, Social Justice (Women's Rights), Women Unbound
FTC Disclosure: I borrowed this book from my school library
Summary (from the back of the book): Tuesday, November 2, 1920, was a day of triumph. For the first time in history, women across the United States were allowed to vote. Women had waged a long and often bitter struggle to win equal right, and voting rights in particular. They marched and picketed and went on hunger strikes. They were arrested and jailed. In 1878 an amendment to the Constitution was submitted to Congress declaring that the right to vote could not be denied on account of sex. But it was not until forty years later that the Nineteenth Amendment was finally ratified. This book describes not just this battle, but the many others still being waged by women for equal jobs, equal pay, equal representation in government.

Review: The topic for this month's Social Justice Challenge is women's rights, something that is near and dear to my heart. However, I am just getting into the other book that I am reading so must confess that I wanted something quick to read that satisfy the "requirement" of the challenge but still be interesting. I found that in this book.

Officially this book is aimed at 5th through 9th graders, but I think that is underestimating its target audience. Those age groups could easily understand it, but the book is packed with names, dates, and concepts that high school students and adults (looking for a brief look at the issues) will also find interesting. The photographs included are wonderful, from individual portraits of the women suffragists to rallies, documents, and protest signs.

This book traces the roots of the women's right to vote through the issues of education, jobs, athletics, war, fashion (I even learned where the term "bloomers" came from!), politics, the Equal Rights Amendment and more with each issue getting a brief history of the people and events that made a difference.

Having just passed voting day, I thought this book was really important. Women often don't use their votes the way they could and should. Our foremothers worked very hard to earn our right to vote and we shouldn't squander that right. I have voted in every single election since the day I turned 18, whether it was local, state, or federal. When I taught American Government I really tried to impress upon my students the importance of our voices and our impact on the direction our country takes.

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