I couldn’t sleep last night. A heavy sense of fear and foreboding is settled into my gut; today is a dark day in history.
I have been thinking a lot about how I will resist. How I can stand up. How I can fight back and make a difference. And, the honest answer is that I don’t know yet.
But I know that I will.
I will not be afraid.
I will not be silent.
I will not forget that,
I will stand up for people and communities of color.
I will stand up for immigrants.
I will stand up for the LGBT community.
I will stand up for the marginalized.
I will stand up for people who practice their faith.
I will stand up for women.
I will stand up for civil rights and human rights.
I will stand up for education, the environment and health care.
I will stand up for honesty, ethics, morality and justice.
I will stand up for freedom, and democracy.
I will stand up for facts.
I will stand up for truth.
When I grow weary, I will read and re-read Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail” and Henry David Thoreau’s “On the Duty of Civil Disobedience.”
Today, the first song Carter asked to hear was “Revolution” by the Beatles. I will remember that.
Today, I wore all black in mourning, and yellow rainboots for hope. I shut off the news and took Carter to the library. Because I’m going to teach him to read. He will be informed and educated. He will know how to tell fact from fiction. And he will stand up too.
Then, we went to buy poster board and markers. Tonight, we will make signs.
Tomorrow, I march.
On Sunday, I will go to church to seek guidance and peace. I will pray, as I do everyday.
Next week, I will call my Senators and leaders.
And everyday that follows, I will resist.
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Some Girls are Born to Lead
Written by Michelle Markel • Illustrated by LeUyen Pham
An inspiring portrait of Hillary Rodham Clinton from her childhood through her tenure as the United States Secretary of State. This biography showcases the Democratic Presidential Nominee’s barrier-breaking accomplishments and touches on many challenges she faced along the way.
Reasons I love it:
- It is boldly in favor of Hillary Clinton as a person, a woman, a politician and an advocate for change. It outlines her life through the lens of a woman challenging assumptions and pushing down barriers; she has always been a strong, passionate leader working to make a difference. In this regard, I find it to be incredibly inspiring.
- Gender is an ever-present theme throughout the book. Sentences like, “But she couldn’t believe how people criticized her – in ways they’d never criticize a man. They said her headbands were too casual and her attitude was too feisty. An ex-president said a First Lady shouldn’t be too strong or too smart. Others called her “the Hillary problem” – and a lot worse things than that” introduce ideas of gender bias in child-friendly language. Though the story does not dive beyond these general descriptions, it creates a platform for deeper discussion with young readers. If nothing else, this is definitely a book for mighty girls – and for boys who support mighty girls.
- I had the privilege of meeting the illustrator, LeUyen Pham, earlier this year at a writer’s conference. She is an amazing woman whose life and words have inspired me on my writing path. She embodies many of the themes of female empowerment and breaking barriers shared in this book. The illustrations in this book are simply amazing. Pham’s research shows in her artwork inclusion of significant people, memories and details throughout Clinton’s life. A four-page artist’s note is included with explanations of the symbolism, significance and history in each illustration. In addition depth and detail, the artwork is bright, cute and engaging.
One Wish: The first spread begins with, “In the 1950’s, it was a man’s world. Only boys could grow up to have powerful jobs. Only boys had no ceilings on their dreams.” The illustrations on these pages include two Black men. It is factually incorrect to imply that only women faced discrimination at a time Black men and women were in the midst of Jim Crow laws. I also didn’t love the line, “Her youth group met with poor black and Latino teenagers in the inner city.” As a book about gender, this book works to inspire young readers; however, its short inclusions of race are problematic.