I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote

by Linda Arms White (Author) Nancy Carpenter (Illustrator)

I Could Do That!: Esther Morris Gets Women the Vote
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

Full of humor and spunk - just like Esther!

"I could do that," says six-year-old Esther as she watches her mother making tea. Start her own business at the age of nineteen? Why, she could do that, too. But one thing Esther and other women could NOT do was vote. Only men could do that.

With lively text and humorous illustrations as full of spirit as Esther herself, this striking picture book biography shows how one girl's gumption propels her through a life filled with challenges until, in 1869, she wins the vote for women in Wyoming Territory - the first time ever in the United States!

I Could Do That! is a 2006 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year.

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School Library Journal

Starred Review
Gr 2-4 -Statues of Esther Morris are found in front of the Wyoming State Capitol and in the United States Capitol, yet she is not as well known as Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. White tells the story of the woman's achievements in helping to gain the vote for women in Wyoming and as -the first female judge and the first woman in the United States to hold political office. - However, even the author admits that -only the barest facts - are known about her subject's early life, her millinery business, and her two marriages. As a result, readers are given an appealing, inspiring story, but is it historical fiction or nonfiction? White is successful in depicting a strong, dynamic woman. Whether brewing tea or learning to sew, from an early age Esther adamantly states, -I could do that! - -the mantra of her life. From New York to Illinois to the Wyoming Territory, Morris takes care of herself and her family while championing the abolitionist and suffragist causes. Carpenter's bright, lively chalk illustrations contribute to the cheerful, fast-paced tone of the story. Her work complements the understated text with humor-filled illustrations. To discuss voting and elections with young children, this title would work well with Emily Arnold McCully's "The Ballot Box Battle" (Knopf), or Elinor Batezat Sisulu's more modern "The Day Gogo Went to Vote" (Little, Brown, both 1996), set in South Africa." -Lucinda Snyder Whitehurst, St. Christopher's School, Richmond, VA" Copyright 2005 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"White's carefully shaped text is amplified by Carpenter's folksy oils, which combine prim, period details and witty exaggerations. A well-crafted story that secures Morris a deserved place in the sorority of redoubtable picture-book heroines." —Starred, Booklist

"Livel" —The New York Times Book Review

"White's text vividly builds a larger-than-life character. Carpenter's sunny illustrations make the most of Esther's actual size (six feet) and inner strength. A rollicking good story." —Kirkus Reviews

"Carpenter's paintings, which combine Giselle Potter's grace with a slightly rough-hewn Western edge, are especially entertaining and effective at depicting Morris as a pillar of steadiness and calm." —Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

Linda Arms White

Linda Arms White's humorous books include Comes a Wind, an American Bookseller Pick of the Lists. She lives outside Allenspark, Colorado.

Nancy Carpenter has written and illustrated many books for children, including Fannie in the Kitchen by Deborah Hopkinson, a Publishers Weekly Best Book, and Twister by Darleen Bailey Beard. She lives in Brooklyn,
New York.

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Farrar, Straus and Giroux (Byr)
Publication date
September 20, 2005
Melanie Kroupa Books
BISAC categories
JNF025200 - Juvenile Nonfiction | History | United States/19th Century
JNF007020 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Historical
JNF023000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Girls & Women
Library of Congress categories
United States
Morris, Esther Hobart
Christopher Awards
Winner 2006 - 2006
Black-Eyed Susan Award
Nominee 2007 - 2008
Rhode Island Children's Book Awards
Nominee 2007 - 2007
Capitol Choices: Noteworthy Books for Children and Teens
Recommended 2006 - 2006

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