When Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) voiced her objections about the nomination of Jeff Sessions for US Attorney General during his confirmation hearing on February 7, 2017, she was silenced. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) interrupted Senator Warren as she read from theletterwritten in 1986 by civil rights leader Coretta Scott King.That letter helped prevent the confirmation of Jeff Sessions as a federal judge for his home state of Alabama. McConnell accused Warren of making statements that impugn thecharacter of Sessions which he determined was against Senate rules.
The senator presiding over the hearing advised Warren that she was out of order under Senate Procedural Rule 19. “I’m reading a letter from Coretta Scott King to the Judiciary Committee from 1986 that was admitted into the record,” Senator Warren argued. “I’m simply reading what she wrote about what the nomination of Jeff Sessions to be a federal court judge meant and what it would mean in history for her.”
Senator McConnell asked for a vote. After a 49-43 vote split across party lines, Senator Warren was not allowed to finish nor speak again. Instead, she continued reading theletteroutside the door of the Senate floor.
Defending his actions, Mitch McConnell later explained,“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”
Inspired by that event, Chelsea Clinton wrote this book and featured thirteen other women in America who also faced opposition and or adversity but succeeded because they persisted.
Written by: Chelsea Clinton
Illustrated by: Alexandra Boiger
Publisher: Philomel Books (May 2017)
Suitable for ages: 3-8
Themes/Topics: Women in US history, perseverance, resilience
Brief Synopsis: In She Persisted, Chelsea Clinton introduces young readers to thirteen American women throughout history who, despite resistance from others or society, made positive contributions to our nation because of their persistence.
Opening pages: “Sometimes being a girl isn’t easy. At some point, someone probably will tell you no, will tell you to be quiet and may even tell you your dreams are impossible. Don’t listen to them. These thirteen American women certainly did not take no for an answer. They persisted.”
Why I like this book: She Persisted is an inspirational tribute to thirteen women whose contributions to our nation deserve recognition. Some of the women featured are well known and others are not. The colorful illustrations by Alexandra Boiger include a diverse cast of characters, girls and boys, that reflect our nation’s multicultural population.
Perseverance, persistence, fairness, and dreaming big are common themes in children’s books. I enjoyed the inclusion of women in a book that also teaches US history. As a non-fiction book, there are endless opportunities for educational use. Students could conduct more in-depth study of each character, or research other lesser known female figures who have also helped shape our nation. The adults in this book are role models children should know about and look up to. The author includes a quote that explains why every child, especially girls, should read this picture book, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” -Astronaut Sally Ride