Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Nevertheless-- She Persisted ... Around the World by Chelsea Clinton

It's not always easy being a girl

Anywhere in the world.

It takes a lot for women to achieve in this world, and first of all, it takes persistence.

As Texas Governor Ann Richards once said of Hollywood's famed dancing duo, “After all, Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels.”

Just as Ginger stuck to it, becoming a star of the silver screen, girls around the world have persisted despite the odds to do what they wanted to do, and Chelsea Clinton's She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History (Philomel Books, 2018) celebrates the successes of women leaders all over the globe.

In some parts of this world girls face huge obstacles just to leave their own houses, to get to go to school--merely to learn to read and write in their own languages. Author Clinton cites the youngest Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai, a teenager who was shot in the head for insisting on the rights of girls all over Pakistan to be educated and who lived to campaign for girls' education around the globe. Her motto, "One Child, One Teacher, One Book, One Pen Can Save the World," says it all.

The author also highlights twelve other girls and women who have achieved "firsts"--Caroline Herschel, sister of astronomer William Herschel, whose knowledge matched her brother's and who actually discovered the comet that bears their name; Kate Sheppard, whose persistent efforts achieved the vote for women in New Zealand; Marie Curie, whose pioneer work in physics and chemistry made her the first to receive not one, but two Nobel Prizes; Sissi Lima Do Amor, whose campaign gained the right of girls and women just to play soccer in Brazil, and Leyman Gbowee, whose peace movement ended the civil war in Liberia and paved the way for the first woman president of Liberia.

In these lives and those of others, Clinton tells the story of girls who stayed the course to do what they had to do in this companion book to her 2017 best seller, She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World (read review here). All of these girls and women had that one thing in common, they persisted, resolutely sticking to their goals, even if along the way they had to do some dancing backwards.

The author's well-told stories of these women are varied in their time and place, but all are inspiring, and noted artist Alexandra Boiger's illustrations are charming and yet hint at the strength of girls and women in this must-have book for school and public libraries. Of this New York Times best-seller in its starred review, Publishers Weekly says, "Clinton again writes in a measured tone that is at once celebratory and defiant. Boiger's watercolor and ink artwork exudes warmth and a subtle power."



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