She Was the First!

By Booklist

Russell-Brown chronicles the life of this American congresswoman who, in 1972, became the first woman of color to run for president. Born to immigrant parents in Brooklyn, Shirley Chisholm spent time living with her maternal grandmother on Barbados before returning to New York, where she excelled in school as a debater. Although encouraged by a professor to enter politics, she first became a teacher, spending her evenings working as a community advocate. Eventually she did enter politics, first in the New York State Assembly and later in the U.S. Congress, devoting much of her efforts to the needs of the disadvantaged. This succinct biography emphasizes Chisholm's leadership qualities and her slogan and attitude ("Unbought and Unbossed"), which enabled her to break through racial and gender barriers despite discouragement from others. Velasquez's watercolor illustrations give a good sense of Depression-era Brooklyn and Barbados as well as emphasizing Chisholm's closeness to her family. Earth tones predominate, highlighted with splashes of turquoise, rose, and gold. An extensive afterword offers additional information about this remarkable politician, educator, and author.