The struggle to achieve voting rights for women in both the United States and the United Kingdom is told in this illustrated book first published in the U.K.
Readers who may be skeptical that a man—as author/illustrator Roberts is—can do justice to the story of women’s suffrage will be happily proved wrong. Not only does Roberts bring his well-researched story to life, but his Edward Gorey–like watercolor portraits (some based on period photographs) both enlighten and entertain. Though primarily focused on the struggle in the U.K., the narrative in this large, sumptuously illustrated book nonetheless inserts U.S. suffrage activities in a natural way. Young readers will be amazed to learn that women’s suffrage in both countries took decades of organizing, demonstrating, marching, and educating—and that it was not a completely unified endeavor. The schism in the U.K. between factions who believed in peaceful demonstration and those who subscribed to more violent (although not against human lives) measures is presented factually, as is the discrimination in United States suffrage organizations that discouraged or denied participation by women of color. This cleareyed, evenhanded presentation gives the overall story a veracity that lets shine the bravery of all the women (and men) who were ridiculed, imprisoned, force-fed, and beaten for their determination to win the franchise.
This compelling story of determination and persistence can’t help but inspire today’s readers. (foreword, introduction, bibliography) (Nonfiction. 8-14)