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A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country
     

A Woman in the House (and Senate): How Women Came to the United States Congress, Broke Down Barriers, and Changed the Country

by Ilene Cooper
 

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For the first 128 years of our country’s history, not a single woman served in the Senate or House of Representatives. All of that changed, however, in November 1916, when Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress—even before the Nineteenth Amendment gave women across the U.S. the right to vote.
Beginning with the women&

Overview


For the first 128 years of our country’s history, not a single woman served in the Senate or House of Representatives. All of that changed, however, in November 1916, when Jeannette Rankin of Montana became the first woman elected to Congress—even before the Nineteenth Amendment gave women across the U.S. the right to vote.
Beginning with the women’s suffrage movement and going all the way through the results of the 2012 election, Ilene Cooper deftly covers more than a century of U.S. history in order to highlight the influential and diverse group of female leaders who opened doors for women in politics as well as the nation as a whole. Featured women include Hattie Caraway (the first woman elected to the Senate), Patsy Mink (the first woman of color to serve in Congress), Shirley Chisholm (the first African-American woman in Congress), and present-day powerhouses like Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton. The book is filled with lively illustrations and archival photographs. It includes a glossary, index, and chart of all the women who have served in Congress.

Praise for A Woman in the House (and Senate)
STARRED REVIEW
"It is no small task to create a book that summarizes over a century of U.S. history, gives a crash course in civics, and provides succinct, pithy biographies of numerous women who have served in the legislative and judicial branches of government. Cooper pulls it off."
Kirkus Reviews, starred review

Editorial Reviews

Voya Reviews, April 2014 (Vol. 36, No. 1) - Julia Bowersox
This is an empowering book for tweens and teens. It tells the stories of the triumphs and struggles of the first and current Congresswomen in America while clearly and briefly explaining politics and history from women’s suffrage to current happenings in the United States. Illustrator Baddeley deserves kudos for her visually appealing superheroine-like design. The cartoons and caricatures will keep readers wanting to flip through and read more. The graphics of this book draw you in and may entice tweens and teens to pick it up for a casual read. It is an excellent source for reluctant readers, as it is graphically driven, with simple yet informative text. What it lacks in depth it makes up for as a great, all-inclusive overview of all the females in U.S. politics (i.e., it is a complete, alphabetical, color-coded list of women in Congress past and present). Although each discussion is brief, Cooper keeps readers’ attention with interesting, personal background facts showing the personalities and drive of each woman. This book would be a great addition to public as well as school libraries. Reviewer: Julia Bowersox; Ages 11 to 15.
School Library Journal
03/01/2014
Gr 6–10—This volume begins with a profile of the first woman to serve in Congress, Representative Jeannette Rankin, elected in 1916. Cooper includes some background about the struggle for women's suffrage but focuses on the 20th century and organizes the book by era, comparing women's progress in Congress with their overall status in the country. She describes their gradual advancement from filling seats of dead husbands or fathers to running, winning, and leading on their own. The final chapters on the contemporary period concentrate on women who broke new barriers, such as Shirley Chisholm and Nancy Pelosi, or became nationally prominent, such as Geraldine Ferraro. Cooper celebrates the gains women have made, but explains that parity remains a distant goal. Her informal writing style includes interesting details and anecdotes about the women's struggles and triumphs. However, the book contains several errors, the most important being the author's repeated claims that vacancies in the House can be filled by appointment, when constitutionally, all House seats must be filled by election. (Senate vacancies can be filled by appointment.) The text is supplemented by photos and cartoon-style illustrations, an appendix on how the federal government operates, and a list of women who have served in Congress. Although there are many individual biographies of Congressional women, few describe the progress of women as a group, and most of those, such as Jill S. Pollack's Women on the Hill (Watts, 1996), are dated. The error regarding appointment to House seats is an unfortunate oversight; some libraries may wish to pass on this title or wait for a corrected edition. If librarians and educators can look beyond this flaw, the engaging biographical sketches and lively overview of women in American politics presented in this work may prove worthy of inclusion in some collections.—Mary Mueller, Rolla Public Schools, MO
Kirkus Reviews
★ 2014-01-08
It is no small task to create a book that summarizes over a century of U.S. history, gives a crash course in civics, and provides succinct, pithy biographies of numerous women who have served in the legislative and judicial branches of government. Cooper pulls it off. She sets her tone with the introduction: "Guess how many women served in the U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives from the first Congress in 1789 until the 65th Congress began in 1917. / 200? 100? 50? / Zero. Nada. None…. / What's up with that?" Vigorous prose and well-chosen anecdotes, enhanced by elegant design, make for a continually engaging read. A double-page spread featuring a 1914 photograph of suffragists superimposed with a feisty Susan B. Anthony quotation precedes some general history of the suffrage movement, followed by short biographies of key women. Each subsequent chronological section similarly captures an era, with appropriate artwork. (Doves and flowers adorn the introduction to the 1960s). Throughout the cataloging of legislative triumphs—in a spectrum of issues far beyond women's rights—there are documented anecdotes of struggles against racism and sexism, such as the day in the 1970s when a committee chairman insisted that the sole female representative and the sole African-American representative share a chair, as their votes "were worth only half of one regular Member." Accessible, erudite, aesthetically appealing: a must-have. (foreword, appendix, endnotes, bibliography, acknowledgments, index) (Nonfiction. 10-14)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781419710360
Publisher:
Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
Publication date:
03/11/2014
Edition description:
Illustrate
Pages:
144
Sales rank:
955,751
Product dimensions:
8.60(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile:
1040L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author


Ilene Cooper has written many acclaimed children’s books, including Jewish Holidays All Year Round, winner of the National Jewish Book Award. She is an editor for Booklist and lives in Chicago.

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