Review of Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of "Fighting Shirley Chisholm"

Speak Up, Speak Out!: The Extraordinary Life of “Fighting Shirley Chisholm”
by Tonya Bolden
Intermediate, Middle School    National Geographic    144 pp.    g
1/22    978-1-4263-7236-0    $17.99
Library ed.  978-1-4263-7237-7    $27.90
e-book ed.  978-1-4263-7295-7    $10.99

The list of New York Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm’s accomplishments during a time when race and gender were overt factors in exclusion from politics makes her an iconic figure in American history. Chisholm’s political rise was groundbreaking on the local, state, and national stages. After this extensively researched biography opens with a map of Brooklyn and a foreword by Stacey Abrams, Bolden traces the arc of Chisholm’s life and the many challenges she faced on her way to becoming the first Black woman to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives, helping found the Congressional Black Caucus, and in 1972 becoming the first Black person to run for a major party’s presidential nomination. The daughter of immigrant parents, Chisholm spent her early years living in Barbados with her grandmother, eventually returning to the U.S. to continue her education. Her journey into history was not without twists, turns, and disappointments, and Bolden’s plainspoken narrative paints a picture of a woman who was as hard-working as she was determined. Short, accessible chapters give readers a sense of the times as well as the woman. A photo insert appears partway through; back matter includes an author’s note, sources, and an index. See also recent picture books She Was the First! (rev. 11/20) by Russell-Brown, Shirley Chisholm Dared (rev. 3/21) by Williams, and Shirley Chisholm Is a Verb! by Chambers.

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

Monique Harris

Monique Harris is a public educator, reading specialist and independent educational consultant. She holds a Master of Science degree in Education from Simmons University, and is enrolled in a PhD program at Florida State University.

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