Kirkus Reviews QR Code
EQUALITY'S CALL by Deborah Diesen


The Story of Voting Rights in America

by Deborah Diesen ; illustrated by Magdalena Mora

Age Range: 5 - 9

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 2020
ISBN: 978-1-5344-3958-0
Publisher: Beach Lane/Simon & Schuster

A poetic narrative charts the history of voting rights in the United States from the founders to the present, emphasizing that “A right isn’t right / Till it’s granted to all.”

A black woman at a blackboard instructs a class (and readers) in an inclusive “we” as the voices of democracy swell to affirm the expansion of voting rights. Diesen (in a dramatic departure from her Pout-Pout Fish series) and Mora effectively employ the drama of the turning page as, on each spread when the refrain is resounded, the number of people marching grows from two black women and a black man to a host of the historically disenfranchised. The final refrain is a crescendo, complemented by a double-page spread depicting a crowded, diverse line of marchers. As they march from left to right into the page turn, readers are reminded that “The journey’s not over / The work hasn’t ended / Democracy’s dream / Must be constantly tended.” The pages act as a timeline, and several illustrations depict historical figures, including Sojourner Truth, Abraham Lincoln, and John Lewis. (A backmatter key helps identify the many activists represented.) As an introduction, the volume focuses on the progress and not the obstacles, but caregivers can supplement the history, using the extensive backmatter addressed to them: information on related constitutional amendments and relevant legislation and a two-page list of voting rights activists.

A solid work of visual storytelling. (Informational picture book. 5-9)