Loud and Proud: The Life of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm

by Lesa Cline-Ransome (Author) Kaylani Juanita (Illustrator)

Loud and Proud: The Life of Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
“History shines” (School Library Journalstarred review) in this inspirational, “vibrantly colored, boisterous, and well-paced” (Booklist, starred review) picture book biography of trailblazer Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman in Congress and the first woman and African American to enter the Democratic presidential race, by award-winning author Lesa Cline-Ransome.

Shirley Chisholm was born in Brooklyn, New York, where her immigrant parents scraped and saved while Shirley learned all the love in the world couldn’t pay the rent. Her father encouraged her ambition early on, telling her, “God gave you a brain, use it.” Shirley worked hard and landed a full scholarship to Brooklyn College where she started advocating for people like her by starting a club for Black women.

When her political science professor told her she should go into politics, Shirley paid attention. She broke new ground and heard “Go home to your husband” and “You don’t belong here” when she was campaigning. But that didn’t stop her; in fact, it made her work harder until she became the first African American woman in Congress in 1968, where she ended up serving seven terms, and advocated for important bills such as the Equal Rights Amendment. She even sought the nomination for president of the United States in 1972.​

Shirley Chisholm’s life and legacy served as a catalyst for progress in America and changed the world.
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Kirkus Reviews

Readable but limited and likely to be lost in the shuffle.


Starred Review
This vibrantly colored, boisterous, and well-paced biography ... offers young readers a chance to learn about Shirley [Chisholm] and to hear for themselves her famous words—many of which will still resonate today.

School Library Journal

Starred Review

Gr 2-5--History shines in this rousing biography of Shirley Chisholm. The expansive story follows the course of the congresswoman's life, from her childhood through her political career, culminating in her historic presidential campaign. Cline-Ransome's well-chosen language contrasts the narrow-minded contempt of the establishment with Chisholm's spirit and defiance: "When they told her to slow down, Shirley worked quickly...When they told her to remember her place, Shirley made her own place." Juanita's digital art, in vignettes and full bleeds, depicts Chisholm's tireless forward march through education and politics. Some illustrations contain straightforward snapshots of moments small and large--a family bedroom, a local rally, a spectacular fireworks display at the Capitol. Others focus on close-up views of objects, such as ballot boxes, food stamps, and presidential campaign buttons, to clarify key political concepts. In an inspired visual motif, Juanita renders the characters' speech as clouds emerging from their mouths (some empty and some containing important pull quotes from the story), a literal treatment of their words' energy and outward spread. While the word clouds of her naysayers are gray, spiked, and threatening, Chisholm's appear light blue and fluid, like a joyful tidal wave. VERDICT A first purchase, this excellent treatment of a trailblazing political figure will serve as a stepping stone from shorter picture books to chapter books for young lovers of biography.--Jonah Dragan

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

Lesa Cline-Ransome
Lesa Cline-Ransome is the author of numerous nonfiction and historical fiction titles for picture book, chapter book, middle grade, and young adult readers including Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams and The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne. Her verse biography of Harriet Tubman, Before She Was Harriet was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and received a Jane Addams Children's Book Honor, Christopher Award, and Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustration. Her debut middle grade novel, Finding Langston, won the Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction and received the Coretta Scott King Award Author Honor. She lives in the Hudson Valley region of New York with her husband and frequent collaborator, James Ransome, and their family. Visit her at LesaClineRansome.com.

Kaylani Juanita is an illustrator based in Fairfield, California, who illustrates inclusive picture books, editorial art, and afros. Her book Magnificent Bomespun Brown, written by Samara Cole Doyon, received the 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Award for illustration. Her work has been recognized by Society of Illustrators, HuffPost, and BBC. California grown and raised, she studied at CalArts and California College of the Arts for a BFA in illustration. Her mission as an artist is to support the stories of the underrepresented and create new ways for people to imagine themselves. You can find her lurking in public secretly drawing strangers or writing nonsensical stories about who knows what.
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
Publication date
September 20, 2023
BISAC categories
JNF018010 - Juvenile Nonfiction | People & Places | United States - African-American
JNF007070 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | Political
JNF023000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Girls & Women
Library of Congress categories
New York (N.Y.)
United States
Brooklyn (New York, N.Y.)
Women legislators
African American legislators
Presidential candidates
Women presidential candidates
Chisholm, Shirley
African American presidential candidates

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