Heart on Fire: Susan B. Anthony Votes for President. Written by Ann Malaspina. IIlustrated by Steve James. Albert Whitman & Company, 2012. 32 pages. Publisher recommends for ages 6-9. ISBN: 9780807531884.
Susan B. Anthony thought that the 14th Amendment, ratified in 1868, gave her and every other woman who was a citizen of the United States the right to vote. She registered to vote in 1872 and four days later she voted for president of the United States. Two weeks after that she was arrested for “voting without having the lawful right to vote.” All of her female friends who voted were also arrested. She was tried, convicted, and fined $100 which she refused to pay.
This story is much more accessible than a biography of Susan B. Anthony would be. It captures her outrage at not being able to vote. Like a refrain in a song, the writer uses the words “Outrageous. Unbelievable. True.” The words appear throughout the story.
There’s a nice history of Susan B. Anthony’s struggle to win the right to vote at the end of the book. It points out that she died in 1906 and the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote, was ratified in 1920. There’s also a selected bibliography. On the last page there is a photograph of Susan B. Anthony.
The deeply colored illustrations focus primarily on the upper torso and heads of their subjects. This gives the reader a chance to see the character faces up close, and thus to see a bit of the feelings and motivations expressed in their faces.
Heart on Fire could be used anytime by a child interested in writing a report about Susan B. Anthony. It would also be a great read aloud choice both for election season and for women’s history month.
Before reading this book I knew that Susan B. Anthony worked tirelessly to win American women the right to vote. I did not realize that she had, in effect, committed civil disobedience by testing her right to vote. My admiration of her and my gratitude to her have increased by reading Heart of Fire.
This week Nonfiction Monday is being hosted by Wrapped in Foil