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


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Have you heard of Shirley Chisholm? She was an amazing Black woman who fought for the people in politics. She even campaigned to be the Democrat candidate for President. After Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated she had a tradition of giving a speech on his birthday at a college or university. She also played a role in making his birthday a holiday. (Source) So it seems appropriate to share this new book about this amazing woman's life with you today. It is Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of "Fighting Shirley Chisholm" by Tonya Bolden. It has a forward by Stacey Abrams. This book is from National Geographic Kids and is recommended for ages 10 to 14. 

From the Publisher:

From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.

Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.

Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

From Me:

Now I will admit I knew the name Shirley Chisholm and I knew she was a Black politician but didn't really know much about her. Wow was I missing out in my history lessons or perhaps I should say current events from my own childhood. Shirley Chisholm fought for the people and put focus on the mothers, children and poor. She fought for women's rights as well as family rights. She truly believed in equal rights and fought for everyone. This book shares her story. It is recommended for ages 10 to 14 and I believe that is accurate. It is not your typical National Geographic Kids book. The reading level is higher, and all the photos are in one section. It was a bit harder to get through than some. It is very factual and detailed about her life and her huge achievements.

Shirley Chisholm worked and fought to make a pathway for Black women and women in general in the world of politics. When she ran for President, she knew her chances were slim, but she also knew by doing it, she was paving a path for the future. Her run gave people the image of a female and Black President. Something many had never thought of previously. Since then, of course we have had a Black President and now have a Black female Vice President. Shirley Chisholm fought for things like health care for all, better schools and day care in poor neighborhoods and so much more. She was a Black woman making waves in a mostly white male establishment. She had the confidence she needed to question and speak up when she saw something that hurt the people. She was at home in the poorest neighborhoods as well as at fancy fundraisers and dinners. 

This book is perfect for the middle school history classroom, United States History classroom, or for a home that wants more diverse books. It is perfect for kicking off Black History Month as well as Women's History Month (both coming up soon)! I hope you will check it out and learn about the amazing woman!