She Persisted

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She Persisted by Chelsea Clinton is as fantastic of a book as you might imagine it to be! I don’t quite remember when or where I found out about this book, only that when I did, I knew I had to get my hands on it ASAP! There was a quite a few holds ahead of mine at the library (always a good sign!) and when I finally did get the book, it did not disappoint.

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With sweet illustrations by Alexandra Boiger, She Persisted tells the stories of thirteen “American women who changed the world”, including: Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Margaret Chase Smith, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey and Sonia Sotomayor.

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While most of these names are familiar, a few were new to me such as Nellie Bly who “became a reporter in part because a male writer had said that working women were ‘a monstrosity’, and she wanted to prove that women could do anything”. She took it a step further and went under cover in sweat shops and mental hospitals to expose how poorly people were being treated at the time.

What so many of these women did took serious guts; more poetically, they were brave for working towards what they believed in despite the words and actions of others who tried to silence them. Chelsea Clinton said that this book was inspired by Elizabeth Warren, who, now famously, attempted to read a letter by Coretta Scott King before she was abruptly silenced, but “nevertheless, she persisted”.

At times I have thought that I could never do what some of these women did, their courage is astounding to say the least. But I think in the right moment, if any one of us was being challenged over something that meant the world to us, we would persist. With role models like the women in this book, and all the women we know in our own lives who persist every day, how can you not?

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