Cover image for What do you do with a voice like that? : the story of extraordinary congresswoman Barbara Jordan
Title:
What do you do with a voice like that? : the story of extraordinary congresswoman Barbara Jordan
ISBN:
9781481465618
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York ; London ; Toronto : Beach Lane Books, [2018]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
Summary:
"A picture book of lawyer, politician, and civil rights leader Barbara Jordan."--Provided by publisher.
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Audience:
770L Lexile
Holds:

Available:*

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Children's Book 923.2 Jorda
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Children's Book 923.2 Jorda
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Summary

Summary

"When Barbara Jordan talked, we listened." --Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton

Congresswoman Barbara Jordan had a big, bold, confident voice--and she knew how to use it! Learn all about her amazing career in this illuminating and inspiring picture book biography of the lawyer, educator, politician, and civil rights leader.

Even as a child growing up in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Barbara Jordan stood out for her big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It was a voice that made people sit up, stand up, and take notice.

So what do you do with a voice like that?

Barbara took her voice to places few African American women had been in the 1960s: first law school, then the Texas state senate, then up to the United States congress. Throughout her career, she persevered through adversity to give voice to the voiceless and to fight for civil rights, equality, and justice.

New York Times bestselling author Chris Barton and Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes deliver a remarkable picture book biography about a woman whose struggles and mission continue to inspire today.


Author Notes

Chris Barton is the author of many picture books including the bestseller Shark vs. Train , Sibert Honor-winning The Day-Glo Brothers , and Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List books The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (2016-17) and Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions (2017-18). His other books include Book or Bell? , Dazzle Ships: World War I and the Art of Confusion , and What Do You Do with a Voice Like That . He visits schools by the score and also loves speaking to professional gatherings of librarians, educators, and his fellow writers. Chris and his wife, novelist Jennifer Ziegler, live in Austin, Texas, with their family. For more information about Chris, please visit ChrisBarton.info.

Ekua Holmes is a fine artist whose work explores themes of family, relationships, hope, and faith. The first children's book she illustrated is Carole Boston Weatherford's Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer , which was a Caldecott Honor Book and a Robert F. Sibert Honor Book and for which she also won the John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award. Ekua Holmes lives in Boston.


Reviews 5

School Library Journal Review

Gr 3-6-In a timely yet subtle call-to-action, Barton exemplifies the importance and power of using one's innate gifts and interests to affect positive change. Throughout this supremely accessible picture book biography, readers are asked to consider: "What do you do with a voice like that?" A voice that causes "folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice." Well, if you're Barbara Jordan, you put it to good use. And if you're Barton and Holmes, you create an extraordinary book to ensure that her voice is not forgotten. Everything succeeds in this collaborative effort to accurately reflect the power of Jordan's voice and the impact she made on those she worked with and for, from the oversize trim to the large, succinct text punctuated with complimentary colors, to the hefty paper weight and extended length. Without compromising coherence, Barton keeps the narrative closely aligned with his theme and provides a detailed time line at the end for those who desire more information about Jordan's personal and professional life. Holmes's mixed media collage illustrations will make readers sit up and take notice, too. With her signature use of bold colors and rich textures, Holmes brings Jordan and her remarkable story to life through portrait-style images that reflect the significance of her leadership and honor the integrity that characterizes her legacy. VERDICT An essential purchase for nonfiction collections.-Lynn Van Auken, Oak Bluffs School, MA © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Barton presents a timely, lyrical celebration of Congress- woman Barbara Jordan. As a child growing up in the Fifth Ward in Houston, she commanded attention through her powerful voice ("What's the next thing you do with a voice like that?"). Jordan's intellectual curiosity and desire to be civically engaged led her to become a lawyer, then a politician, "to make change from within." Holmes's dramatic compositions blend painterly forms with layered, cut-paper collage work, displaying brilliant jewel tones and eye-catching patterns. Lewis is pictured speaking on the Senate floor and, as a congresswoman, on television. Jordan's multiple sclerosis, Barton explains, eventually led her to step away from public life and into education, but her voice, Barton concludes, is honored "by making our own voices heard." Ages 4-8. (Sept.) c Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Horn Book Review

This large book, with its lush, vivid, mixed-media illustrations, makes an artistic statement as bold as groundbreaking African American congresswoman Barbara Jordans own giant voice. Smart page-turnsoften prompted by a series of questions and frequently repeating the titular onelead readers to think about, rather than simply learn about, Jordans life. Few specific quotations from her speeches are included here. But those big ideas of hersof justice, equality, and freedomappear not only on the book jacket in bright shades of yellow but also in collages throughout the volume. One double-page spread shows Jordan playing poker, perhaps in reference to an October 1976 Texas Monthly article that compares her to a shrewd poker player deciding how to parlay her vast supply of chips. That she did so to inspire others is Bartons overriding theme and one that he implies will resonate for many years to come. After reading this book, youngsters will want to hear that strong, determined voice, and in the back matter Barton suggests they listen to her 1974 speech on Nixons impeachment, readily available on the internet (although it was not quite the giant-slayer Barton claims it was). An appended timeline and a variety of sources, aimed at differing age ranges, complete the book. betty carter (c) Copyright 2018. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Booklist Review

*Starred Review* This oversize picture-book biography of Barbara Jordan, the charismatic congresswoman from Texas, takes a chronological approach, beginning with her childhood and college days. It then continues on through her political career, paying special attention to the role she played as a member of the 1974 U.S. House Judiciary Committee and the stirring televised speech she made to a national audience regarding the committee's recommendation to impeach President Nixon. Due to increasingly serious health problems, she eventually had to withdraw from public life, but continued to teach law classes until her death in 1996, inspiring another generation of policymakers. The text features lyrical, inspiring language that will be easily accessible for young audiences, and a concluding time line fills in details. The vibrant multimedia illustrations spill across pages, incorporating collage and multiple overlay techniques. When shared with groups, the bright, bold images will be able to be seen by all audience members, even those way in the back. The overall theme is that Ms. Jordan had a strong, compelling voice. Whether expressing her own beliefs or speaking out on behalf of others, she made sure that she was heard and young readers are encouraged to do the same.--Kathleen McBroom Copyright 2018 Booklist


New York Review of Books Review

IT'S A question parents have wrestled with since the 2016 presidential election: How do we explain this political moment to our children? I, for one, was hoping the answer would not involve a book aimed at teenagers in which a candidate's obscene reference to female anatomy appears on Page 2, butthatis where we are. In unpresIDENTED: A Biography of Donald Trump (Feiwel and Friends, 384 pp., $19.99; ages 12 and up), Martha Brockenbrough provides an encyclopedic tale of the rise of Donald J. Trump. Brockenbrough's version is, unapologetically, a liberal's framing of events. Then again, I'm not sure if a nonpartisan book about Trump could grow out of the current climate. For now, there is this thorough, hard-hitting volume that seeks to explain Trump, from the time he was born with a silver spoon and "golden hair, pink cheeks and a tiny pucker of a mouth," to his shocker of a presidential campaign ("candidates typically don't insult the parents of soldiers who die in combat"). The tone isn't lighthearted, yeti laughed out loud in Chapter 4. Is there any more telling symbol of our bizarre (and yes, unprecedented) times than Roy Cohn appearing prominently in a young adult book, and not one about the bygone days of McCarthyism? Brockenbrough describes Trump's infamous lawyer and fixer (or "attack dog," as she calls him) in such stark, terrifying terms that he seems almost like a cartoon villain, a closeted Cruella de Vil "with weatherworn skin, dark eyes and a nose that looked like it had encountered many fists in his 46 years." Halfway through "Unpresidented," I found myself craving a different type of children's book, something that would enlighten kids about the current climate, educate them on the historical struggles that got us here, but also offer bipartisan hope. I wanted a respite from the partisan rancor, preferably with appealing illustrations that didn't include a 2016 Electoral College map. I FOUND ALL of this and more in several immersive picture books about women leaders. The standout books of the bunch tell the stories of two remarkable women of color. In WHAT DO YOU DO WITH A VOICE LIKE THAT? (Beach Lane, 48 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), a biography of Representative Barbara Jordan written by Chris Barton and illustrated by Ekua Holmes, we go from Jordan's modest upbringing in Houston to her civil rights activism to the halls of Congress and back to Texas after a multiple sclerosis diagnosis takes her out of public life. All the way, Jordan's distinct "big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice" guides us. Appropriately, Holmes's illustrations are big, bold, booming, crisp, clear folk art collages. The images - Jordan strumming a guitar against a starry sky, walking with a cane against the rowhouses of her youth - draw on Holmes's prowess as a mixedmedia artist. We learn about United States history in the process. "In 1960, America was not as free or fair a place as it could be. Barbara believed politics could change that," Barton writes. "Her voice had made a difference." IN TURNING PAGES: My Life Story (Philomel, 40 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), Justice Sonia Sotomayor delivers an ode to books under the guise of recounting her life story. Lulu Delacre's soft renderings of the first Latina Supreme Court justice as a little brownhaired bookworm in the Bronx will make both Red and Blue hearts melt. But Sotomayor's book serves another purpose - her musings about her favorite comic books and Nancy Drew novels reinforce how few children's books reflected little girls like her. "Her make-believe life was so different than mine," Sotomayor writes of the Nancy Drew mysteries. "She lived in a big house on a tree-lined street and partnered with her dad, a successful lawyer, to solve crimes." Justice Sotomayor credits "Lord of the Flies" with teaching her why "we need laws and rules to feel safe." Her story skips a beat (or 12) when young Sonia suddenly ends up at Princeton, followed by a successful legal career and a seat on the Supreme Court. But it's a small hiccup in a children's book that bursts with charm. THESE BOOKS, in addition to ELIZA: The Story of Elizabeth Schuyler Hamilton (Schwartz & Wade, 48 pp., $17.99; ages 4 to 8), a Sweet romp written by Margaret McNamara with artwork by Esme Shapiro that gives the woman and philanthropist best known as Alexander Hamilton's wife her proper due, appeal partly because their subjects aren't running for president. I MIGHT HAVE found ELIZABETH WARREN: Nevertheless She Persisted (Abrams, 48 pp., $ 18.99; ages 6 to 9), a biography of the Massachusetts senator by Susan Wood with peppy, absorbing illustrations by Sarah Green, equally charming were it not for Warren's obvious 2020 ambitions. Young readers will benefit from seeing little Elizabeth growing up in Oklahoma as her parents struggle financially. But lines like "Elizabeth wondered why more and more middle-class families weren't getting by anymore while the rich just seemed to get richer" track too closely with what'd we'd hear on the stump. Political mythmaking or not, the book's subtitle - "Nevertheless, She Persisted" - is satisfying. I'd bet that the majority leader, Mitch McConnell, didn't know he'd uttered the ?-Span moment that launched a thousand children's books when he tried to silence Warren's objections to the confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. His line, "Nevertheless, she persisted," became a feminist rallying cry, but it also quickly morphed into what seemed like attention for everyone except Warren. (Chelsea Clinton, for example, has written two children's books whose titles borrow from the phrase.) So I was delighted to see the words on the cover of this biography, underneath Sarah Green's quirky illustration of Warren, the woman who'd been told essentially to shut up, in a bold blue suit, finger raised to make a point, standing at a lectern. ANOTHER POTENTIAL 2020 CANDIDATE, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, is the author of BOLD & BRAVE: Ten Heroes Who Won Women the Right to Vote (Knopf, 40 pp., $18.99; ages 6 to 9), a delicate-looking picture book with sumptuous, pink-washed art by Maira Kalman. It was only in the first few pages, when Gillibrand relays the story of the strong women in her own family, that I wondered whether she wrote this book to educate children or to woo their parents (or babysitters of voting age). After that, "Bold & Brave" features blocks of straightforward text that introduce female activists from Elizabeth Cady Stanton to Alice Paul and Ida B. Wells, with Kalman's illustrations, both portraits and scenes of action, painted in cotton-candy tones. I WANT MY SON (and other little boys) to know about the women featured in these books, but "Bold & Brave" doesn't seem to invite boys in. There are only thumbnail images of Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, and a lot of policemen and men in drab brown suits dragging women away. That's historically important, but I wished "Bold & Brave" also showed boys how they can play their part in women's progress. Sure, boys could stick to genderneutral titles like what's the big deal ABOUT ELECTIONS (Philomel, 48 pp., $17.99, ages 4 to 8), by Ruby Shamir with illustrations by Matt Faulkner, and what can a citizen DO? (Chronicle, 52 pp., $17.99, ages 5 to 8), by Dave Eggers with illustrations by Shawn Harris, two new titles that feel like obligatory reading for future informed citizens. But if we're truly going to teach our children about this political moment, then boys and girls both should heed the stories of Barbara Jordan, Justice Sotomayor and Susan B. Anthony. Roy Cohn can wait. AMY CHOZICK is a writer at large at The Times and the author of "Chasing Hillary."