The Childrens Bookshelf: Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History

Feb 19, 2018

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison is a beautifully-compact and interesting collection of    stories from the lives of forty African American women who have all made a significant impact on history whether it be in the field of science, arts, sports, social justice or education. Every biography is laced with well- known and not so well-known facts making this book an eye opening read for 9-12 year olds.


The charming illustrations add to the understanding of each women’s contribution by picturing them historically dressed whether they lived in the 18th, 19th, 20th or 21st Century. All the doll-like figures gracefully reveal the nature of their gifts to society.



 Tennis champion Althea Gibson, the first African American tennis player to compete in the U.S. National Championships in 1950, stands on the court in her tennis whites with a racket in her hand.  Phillis Wheatley, whose dates fall between 1753-1784, was the first African American woman poet to be published. She stands with ink and quill and tablet in hand.


Equally beautiful presentations accompany the other 38 illustrated biographies including those of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, chemist Alice Ball, pilot Bessie Colman, gospel singer Mahalia Jackson, jazz vocalist Ella Fitzgerald, poet Maya Angelou, science fiction writer Octavia Butler, filmmaker Julie Dash, astronaut Dr. Mae Jemison, sprinter Florence Joyner and journalist Gwen Ifill.


Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History written and illustrated by Vashti Harrison will encourage middle grade readers to delve further into these incredible stories of courage, dedication and creativity (Little Brown and Company, 2017).