Tomorrow is Election Day here. I’ll be going to the polls, grateful that I have the right to cast a ballot.
This book is the story of Susan B. Anthony’s illegal vote in 1872 when she cast a ballot in the presidential election. The book tells an important story and it’s beautifully constructed. Malaspina doesn’t try to tell us about all the great things Anthony did in her long life; the book tells just about that one vote and its dramatic consequence (spoiler: the consequence was NOT women getting the vote!).
Instead of using wordy transitions between scenes in the book, Malaspina heads sections with their time and place: “Rochester, New York, November 1, 1872.” She also repeats a refrain to keep the book organized and connected: “Outrageous. Unvelievable. True.”
The book comes alive with the richly-textured sensory detail she uses: she “jumped up to grab her purse and wrap”; they “hoisted their skirts”; “Miss Anthony’s heels tapped faster and faster.”
After you cast your ballot, sit down and share this book with a child.
Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President by Ann Malaspina, illustrated by Steve James. Albert Whitman, 2012.