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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

Women and the vote

February 14, 2008

Today is Valentine's Day, a day of romance and thinking of others. So why am I not writing about this occasion?

Well, I voted in the Presidential Primary this week. And I — as do many others — take it for granted that women can vote.

But it hasn't always been so as I was reminded when I read a new children's book called Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton & the Right to Vote by Tanya Lee Stone (Holt).

It was through the gumption of pioneering women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton that the country's awareness was raised and ultimately, a constitutional amendment was passed that allowed women to vote. Stone's book is written easily enough for young people (of both genders, of course) to gain an appreciation of how times have changed … but change is often slow.

The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1920, 18 years after Elizabeth Cady Stanton's death.

This picture book biography also reminded me that people sometimes set change into motion and while they may not see where the ripples go, perhaps someday history will note it.

Who knows what happens when a child is inspired by a book?

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"When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox