Ida B. Wells Marches for the Vote

by Dinah Johnson (Author) Jerry Jordan (Illustrator)

Ida B. Wells Marches for the Vote
Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
A stunning picture book biography about the early life of Ida B. Wells, her incredible work as a suffragist, and her critical role in the Women's March of 1913.

Ida B. Wells grew up during a time when women did not have the right to vote. But Ida aspired for equality; she had learned from her parents to forge a life through hope and bravery, so she worked tirelessly to fight for an America that was fair to everyone regardless of race and gender. Her courageous activism made her one of the most influential civil rights leaders in American history. Here is Ida’s story with a specific spotlight on her fearless role in the Women’s March of 1913.
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Kirkus Reviews

Young activists in search of role models will find much to admire in this tough, courageous woman.

School Library Journal

Gr 2-4--Johnson writes with the conviction of Ida B. Wells and her inherent beliefs about right and wrong. From a very young age, Wells took over as head of household, teaching to earn money for her orphaned siblings before becoming a writer who would publish wherever and however she could to get her opinions out, even buying an interest in a news journal she wrote for. After necessarily telescoped coverage of Wells in her other roles, and how often she did the "right" thing or the "bold" thing in the name of sticking to her beliefs, the book centers on the suffragettes who marched for the women's vote in Washington, D.C. in 1913; they were from all over the country, united by their goal, but another ugly division had appeared: the white suffragettes only cared about the vote for white women. Despite this, Wells joined the march and others like it, always going with what was right in the long term. Johnson is careful to lay the groundwork for her subject's many fine moments. Jordan's illustrations, electing for a rough folk-art look over anything like realism in the faces and bodies of the marchers, make this seem out of a dream until the moment when Wells serenely takes her place at the front of the line. Back matter invites readers to learn more through the resources listed, and also includes a time line of Wells's life. VERDICT Until her name is as familiar as Abraham Lincoln's, we can't have too many books about Wells; pair this with Michelle Duster's extraordinary Ida B. Wells, Voice of Truth.--Kimberly Olson Fakih

Copyright 2023 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

"Johnson's compelling text tells the inspirational true story of a Black suffragist who fought injustice all her life.... Jordan's skillfully crafted oil on cloth illustrations effectively capture the historical era in which Wells lived and the determination she showed regardless of the challenge. The detailed back matter—including an author's note, a timeline, photographs, and source notes—offers young readers ample resources for learning more about a person and history that all young people should know."

The Horn Book
Dinah Johnson
Dinah Johnson is the award-winning author of many books for young readers, including H Is for Harlem, illustrated by April Harrison, which received five starred reviews and was named a Kirkus Best Book of the Year, a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, and a Horn Book Fanfare title. A professor of English at the University of South Carolina, she lives in Columbia. She invites you to visit her at

Jerry Jordan is a painter working in the style of contemporary realism. He counts the unsung artists of the Harlem Renaissance as his artistic role models. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin. This is his first book for young readers. He invites you to visit him on Instagram @purplehood2 or at
Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Little Brown and Company
Publication date
January 20, 2024
BISAC categories
JNF007000 - Juvenile Nonfiction | Biography & Autobiography | General
Library of Congress categories
African Americans
African American women civil rights workers
Civil rights workers
United States
20th century
Civil rights
Social conditions
Race relations
Washington (D.C.)
Wells-Barnett, Ida B.
African American women journalists
To 1964

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