As a child growing up in Texas, Barbara Jordan (1936-1996) was proud of her "big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice." It was a voice that "made a difference"--that "caused folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice."
Inspired by a lawyer visiting her high school, Barbara studied "long and hard" to earn her law degree. But being a lawyer meant using "a typewriter and pen a lot more than she did her voice," so Barbara began speaking out for political change. Wanting "more justice and more equality," she ran for office and, on her third try, was elected state senator in Texas, where she dedicated herself to ensuring the political system was used to improve people's lives. In 1972, Barbara was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. During the Watergate affair, she gave a stirring, televised speech to remind the nation that the Constitution applies to everyone, even the president of the United States. She was a rising star, "battling" to end discrimination, until her own fight with multiple sclerosis forced her to leave Washington. Back in Texas, she taught college, "[using] her voice to instruct and implore and inspire."
Chris Barton's (Dazzle Ships) strong, engaging text is well-matched by the stunning hues and bold textures of Ekua Holmes's (Out of Wonder) mixed-media illustrations. Differing type sizes and colors, along with a generous trim size and strategic use of blank space, make the text easily readable and each illustration stand out. Back matter includes an author's note and timeline, as well as recommendations of additional resources for interested readers. Many of Barbara's former students, Barton's text states, still hear "echoes of her words as they try to make life better for all of us." They, like she did, seek "Equality. Justice. Trust." --Lynn Becker, blogger and host of Book Talk, a monthly online discussion of children's books for SCBWI