Good Girls Don’t Make History

Quatro/Wide Eyed Editions. Aug. 2021. 160p. Tr $22.99. ISBN 9780711265424; pap. $17.99. ISBN 9780711271647.
Gr 6-9–Opening at a modern-day polling place, a brown-skinned mother and daughter wait in a long line to cast their vote. The mother reminds her daughter that while waiting in line is frustrating, voting is doing and that nearly 100 years ago, women had just been granted their voting rights. Told in flashbacks between present and historical vignettes, the book details the evolution of the women’s rights movement and the fight for the right to vote. Historical figures such as Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Lucretia Mott, and Emmeline Pankhurst are brought to life, and Kiehner follows the trajectory of history, from the Seneca Falls Convention through the ratification of the 19th Amendment that banned sex-based voter discrimination in the 20th century. The narrative focuses mainly on white woman suffragettes, touching only briefly on the work of Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, and the influence of Native American Iroquois women on the mainstream movement. Where the graphic novel succeeds is in Dawn’s artwork; each frame is at once dreamy and dynamic. The soft illustrations complement the historical narrative, adding depth and dimension to the facial expressions of each figure, heightening the emotion. While this graphic novel may not be as hard-hitting as it could be in calling out the racial disparity of the women’s rights movement, readers will benefit from the lengthy historical time line included in a single graphic novel.
VERDICT Middle schoolers seeking to get their feet wet with historical nonfiction will appreciate this work.

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