October is Black History Month in the UK so it seems like the perfect time to review this title, but this is a book to be savoured every single day. Beautifully presented, beautifully illustrated, it offers a selection of forty biographies plus another twelve mini-biographies of trailblazing black women.
Some of the figures are well known- Rosa Parks, Mary Seacole, Harriet Tubman- and their stories continue to be inspiring and humbling. Others are less well known and their stories are just as inspiring and compelling. Raven Wilkinson (pictured above) for example, who persisted in her dream of being a ballerina in the face of prejudice and discrimination. Or brave Ruby Bridges, selected to be the first black student to attend William Frantz Elementary School in New Orleans and had to face protesters, white parents withdrawing their students and teachers refusing to teach her. As a teacher and as a parent, my heart bleeds for her.
These really are everyday women whose circumstances, attitude, determination and courage have made them stand out from the crowd and do extraordinary things. The illustrations are delightful, each one with details making them an individual, but without these designed to be ‘interchangeable’ so the reader can see themselves in any one of them, ‘and to feel their strength and possibility…’
An essential addition to every library, ‘Little Leaders’ is beautiful and moving.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History Vashti Harrison
Penguin ISBN: 978-0241346839