I was afraid that Shirley Chisholm is a Verb! was going to be a bit on the preachy side. It looked “in your face” for some reason. Therefore, I was almost not going to pick it up. Because with a preconceived notion that like, I was not sure I could be objective. Yet, that blue cover kept calling me. And I am glad I listened.
Veronica Chambers created a nice book about a pioneer for rights for all. She wanted women, women of color and others to get out and make a difference. She was not just a woman or a black woman, but a person who thought of the country. This book uses verbs to tell the story of Chisholm. Therefore, this makes a book that can be used on several levels: she is a black woman (black history) and a woman (women’s history). She was a politician that started many of the programs today we might take for granted (WIC is something I know that helped my family). And since she was fighting in the middle twentieth century, those programs are relatively young. She also worked in education, something that was a passion of hers her whole life. She even worked in Congress learning ways to help her people of Brooklyn by being part of the committee that dealt with agriculture. And due to the highlighting of the special verbs, you can use this book in English classes as well.
You see her life from child to a woman running as the first black women in a major party. The wording shows that Chisholm was not the “first first” (that would go to Victoria Woodhull) but shows how many firsts that she did do. It is clever, funny, and serious. This is an introduction but also covers a lot of ground.
This book also has creative illustrations that help keep the upbeat, moving theme to the next place. Rachelle Baker’s illustrations are nice. They feel personal to the illustrator. They are not “gorgeous”, but they are beautiful. They are bright, detailed to make their point, loud and represent the point Chambers is making.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.” Shirley Chisholm