Review of Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX

Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX Fall Down Seven Times, Stand Up Eight: Patsy Takemoto Mink and the Fight for Title IX
by Jen Bryant; illus. by Toshiki Nakamura
Primary    Quill Tree/HarperCollins    48 pp.    g
1/22    978-0-06-295722-1    $17.99

In this accessible and engaging picture-book biography, Bryant (Feed Your Mind, rev. 1/20; Above the Rim, rev. 11/20) focuses on the ways groundbreaking Japanese American legislator from Hawaii Patsy Takemoto Mink (1927–2002) overcame setbacks in her life and career. Early on, Bryant invokes the Japanese saying “Fall down seven times, stand up eight,” explaining that it means “never give up!” She repeats this refrain throughout the book, applying it to the many hurdles Mink faced—as a college student fighting segregation, an aspiring doctor denied entrance to medical schools, the only woman in her law school class, and the first woman of color in the U.S. Congress. The climax of the narrative comes as Mink fights to ensure that her signature legislation, Title IX, will protect the rights of female athletes. Bryant’s clear prose draws a distinct line from Mink’s childhood precociousness and fortitude to her adult accomplishments. In doing so, she renders a somewhat abstruse concept (education legislation) engaging to her target audience. Nakamura’s digital illustrations complement the text, with finely drawn facial expressions underlining the emotional impact of the historical events. The art also expands on the text; one illustration contrasts a boys’ well-funded basketball team with a girls’ team playing in a makeshift space. Back matter includes a timeline of Mink’s life, a selected biography, and sources for direct quotes.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Rachael Stein
K Rachael Stein

K Rachael Stein is the digital resources analyst at Southern Maryland Regional Library. She blogs at

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