At first glance, Leading The Way by Janet Howell and Theresa Howell seems like a book that was made just for me. I mean, a children’s book about amazing female political leaders, written by a Virginia State Senator and her daughter, that ALSO has a forward by Hillary Rodham Clinton? Sign me up.
But with collections like these, I am always looking for diversity. If a collection of biographies like this isn’t inclusive of women from all backgrounds, it’s really not worth sharing with my kids.
Luckily, Leading The Way totally delivers. In fact, it’s one of the most comprehensive collections I’ve come across. It includes women we’ve all heard of, like Kamala Harris and Eleanor Roosevelt. It also includes lesser known heroes, like Susana Martinez, the first Latina governor in the United States, or Diane Humetewa, the first Native American woman to serve as a federal judge.
Each biography is about a page and a half long, and is accompanied by a gorgeous portrait and inspiring quotes.
This book isn’t just biographies, though. It includes a really awesome guide for taking action that will inspire readers to make a difference in their community. It also has complete source notes, and a list of even more amazing women for future study.
My only wish for this book was that it featured more LGBT+ women. I’d love to see someone like Danica Roem featured in a future edition.
This book is great for independent readers ages 10 and up, but I think it also would work as a read-aloud to older elementary kids. I think a biography or two before bedtime sounds like the perfect way to end the day! This would also make an excellent classroom gift for an elementary or middle school teacher.
Leading The Way is 133 pages and is published by Candlewick Press.
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