Fight of the Century: Alice Paul Battles Woodrow Wilson for the Vote

by Barb Rosenstock (Author) Sarah Green (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade

The fight for women's suffrage between women's rights leader Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson is creatively presented as a four-round boxing match in this energetic nonfiction picture book.

When Woodrow Wilson was elected President, he didn't know that he would be participating in one of the greatest fights of the century: the battle for women's right to vote. The formidable Alice Paul led the women's suffrage movement, and saw President Wilson's election as an opportunity to win the vote to women. She battered her opponent with endless strategic arguments and carefully coordinated protests, calling for a new amendment granting women the right to vote. With a spirit and determination that never quit--even when peaceful protests were met with violence and even when many women were thrown in jail--Paul eventually convinced President Wilson to support her cause, changing the country forever. Cleverly framed as a boxing match, this book provides a fascinating and compelling look at an important moment in American history. Sarah Green's bright, detailed illustrations perfectly accompany award-winning author Barb Rosenstock's captivating narrative.


Publishers Weekly

Using a framework based on boxing match rounds, Rosenstock describes the pitched battle between two complicated historical figures. Alice Paul, a fierce advocate for the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote, faces the conservatism of President Woodrow Wilson, who blocked the amendment for years (it was ratified in 1920). Rosenstock's fidelity to the boxing metaphor ("So he ducks. He dodges," "Alice spins and catches Woodrow off guard") creates a rigid framework that sometimes distracts, and Paul and Wilson's personal motivations remain opaque--supplemental materials help somewhat and note Paul's compromised legacy due to her support of discriminatory practices against black suffragists. Stylized, colorful illustrations by Green are accented with bold black lines and incorporate boxing motifs. Ages 7-10. (Feb.)

Copyright 2019 Publishers Weekly, LLC Used with permission.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-5--Rosenstock explains the history of women's suffrage and the eventual ratification of the 19th amendment in the form of a boxing match between activist Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson. The diligence and coordination of Paul and her supporters and their battle to win public support, especially in light of World War I, are portrayed in an enticing and accessible manner. The narrative framework works well to depict the struggles the suffragettes faced. It took nearly five years to convince President Wilson to support women's voting rights. The full-color illustrations, rendered in muted tones, are reminiscent of vintage boxing posters and add to the boxing match aesthetic. The text provides substantial information in an approachable manner for young readers. An author's note, a time line, and a plentiful bibliography present more details for those interested in delving deeper or conducting additional research. VERDICT This title, especially with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment approaching, is likely to be a favorite for children interested in history and activism, as well as educators. A suggested purchase for all collections.--Ellen Conlin, Naperville Public Library, IL

Copyright 2020 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Utilizing the language and structure of a boxing match, this fast-paced selection covers Alice Paul's activism, ongoing support of women's suffrage, and continuing advocacy for passage of the 19th Amendment during Woodrow Wilson's two presidential terms. Illustrations based on Jazz Age lithographs and boxing posters combine nicely with suspenseful, articulate text that includes some of Paul's ancillary accomplishments... A lively, inspiring depiction of an indomitable fighter for women's rights. —Kirkus Reviews

This accessible storybook uses the metaphor of a prizefight to explain the battle between suffragist Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson over votes for women. The illustrations invoke period photographs, and while most portray actual historical events, some creatively show the protagonists squaring off in a boxing ring... this is an engaging way of making history fun and relevant. —Booklist

Rosenstock explains the history of women's suffrage and the eventual ratification of the 19th amendment in the form of a boxing match between activist Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson. The diligence and coordination of Paul and her supporters and their battle to win public support, especially in light of World War I, are portrayed in an enticing and accessible manner. The full-color illustrations, rendered in muted tones, are reminiscent of vintage boxing posters and add to the boxing match aesthetic. This title, especially with the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th amendment approaching, is likely to be a favorite for children interested in history and activism, as well as educators. —School Library Journal

On the anniversary of the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Rosenstock replays the epic battle of wills between activist Alice Paul and President Woodrow Wilson as a quasi-literal ring match. (R)eaders who have little foreknowledge (and possibly little prior interest) in Paul and her crusade will glom onto this fact-rich retelling. Green's buoyant digital artwork is well suited for turning the picture book into a lure for independent readers. Final notes comment on how Paul's fraught relationship with Black suffragists has tainted her reputation; photos of Paul and Wilson, a women's suffrage timeline, bibliography, and source notes are included. —The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Barb Rosenstock
BARB ROSENSTOCK is the author of the Caldecott Honor Book The Noisy Paint Box; Vincent Can't Sleep; Through the Window; and Mornings with Monet, all also illustrated by Mary GrandPré, as well as many other books. She lives outside of Chicago with her husband, sons, and two big poodles. Visit her at BarbRosenstock.com.

ERIKA MEZA is the illustrator of Salsa Lullaby by Jen Arena. She was born in Morelia, in the Mexican state where monarch butterflies go for the winter. She grew up in awe of the phenomenon, and carried the image of the butterfly as a piece of home when she moved to Paris to follow her dream of becoming an author and illustrator. Her themes are born out of the exploration of her migrant essence, her bittersweet relationship with change, and her attachment to innocence and curiosity. She now lives in London. Learn more about Erika at ErikaMeza.com or on Twitter at @ErikaDraws.
Classification
Non-fiction
ISBN-13
9781629799087
Lexile Measure
650L
Guided Reading Level
N/A
Publisher
Calkins Creek Books
Publication date
February 20, 2020
Series
-

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