I thought my 13-year-old grand-niece, Zaria, would have issues with the differences in the reading levels of “Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of Fighting Shirley Chisholm” by Tonya Bolden (ages 10-14) and “National Geographic Readers: Stacey Abrams” by Melissa H. Mwai (ages 5-8). Instead, during our discussion after she read both books, she revealed that she embraced the content.
“She took a risk” to run for president, especially following the murder of John Kennedy, she said of Chisholm. “It makes me feel like I can take risk, too,” she surmised. My adult instincts were wrong. I also thought Zaria would bristle at the harsh realities and details presented in the Chisholm book.
The book on Abrams speaks about how she was mistreated because of her skin color, for example, when she and other top students were visiting the governor. She was initially stopped by a guard. That incident, however, became her inspiration to run for school vice president.