Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History


Forty brave, inspiring women feature in Vashti Harrison’s superb Little Leaders: Bold Women In Black History. While many are lesser known, including Mary Prince, the first selected, an abolitionist who campaigned to abolish slavery across the British Empire, there are others, like Shirley Bassey, who are household names.

However, even those who are better known are researched and profiled thoroughly, so that we realise fully, their achievements and obstacles. For example, in the case of Maya Angelou, we learn that the abuse she faced at eight years old, led her to stop speaking for five years. Furthermore, Angela Davis’s campaign against racism led her to be put on the FBI’s ‘most wanted’ list and lose her UCLA teaching job.

Bookwagon is astounded by this book. It presents necessary information about people, situations and settings about which we need to know. These women fought purposefully to achieve within a wide variety or professions, sports or cultural pursuits, causes and understandings. Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History is an outstanding book.

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Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Vashti Harrison

(Penguin Random House)

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History presents the histories of politicians, athletes, explorers, sportspeople and spies. The range of occupations, skills, achievements and trailblazing talents is astounding. Furthermore so are the stories, many of which are new to us!
We begin with author and abolitionist Mary Prince who campaigned ‘for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire’. Thereafter, we read of Seaman William Brown who disguised herself ‘as a man in order to serve in the British Royal Navy’! As this was in the early nineteenth century, her courageous deception is all the more extraordinary. We wonder at her motivation?
The selected biographies continue across four centuries. Toward the end of the book we’re reminded of the absorbing talents of athlete Florence Joyner. Then we turn to Lorna Simpson, ‘the first African American woman to exhibit at the Venice Biennale’, the world’s biggest arts’ festival.
While the stories are inspiring, the arrangement of the book, with biography and appealing illustration on a double page, make this an accessible title. Thereafter, readers find themselves completely hooked by the stories, rather like reading Football School: Star Players. The courage, determination and achievements of this superb selection of Little Leaders awes us. Bookwagon is proud to recommend Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History to readers at home and school.


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