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Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman's Race for the Presidency
     

Ballots for Belva: The True Story of a Woman's Race for the Presidency

by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen
 

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In 1884, when men were the only people allowed to vote in national elections, Belva Lockwood took a bold but legal step: She ran for president! Though her campaign was difficult, Belva never wavered in her commitment to equality, earning the respect of many fellow citizens. A little-known but richly deserving American historical figure, Belva is an inspiration

Overview

In 1884, when men were the only people allowed to vote in national elections, Belva Lockwood took a bold but legal step: She ran for president! Though her campaign was difficult, Belva never wavered in her commitment to equality, earning the respect of many fellow citizens. A little-known but richly deserving American historical figure, Belva is an inspiration for modern-day readers.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Belva Lockwood believed in "will-power and mental effort, combined with indefatigable labor" to combat 19th century sexism. Wanting to attend law school, she remained undaunted despite rejections from universities fearing she would "distract the attention of the young men." Denied her diploma, she complained directly to National University Law School President Ulysses S. Grant (who at the time also happened to be the President of the United States). And she ran legally for U.S. president at a time when women were still denied the vote. Though she had her detractors, others supported her, and the Washington Evening Star wrote that "Mrs. Lockwood, if elected, will have a policy [which] will commend itself to all people of common sense." Young readers will cheer Belva's can-do spirit while being astounded (and probably outraged) by the obstacles in her path, including men who dressed as women to mock her and vote counters who threw away her votes. Courtney Martin's artwork depicts intriguing period details (Belva commuting on a large tricycle, for example) and portrays Belva as a strong-bodied woman with determined eyes. Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
School Library Journal

Gr 2-5

Starting with an anecdote in which 10-year-old Belva Lockwood tried to "move a mountain," this picture-book biography introduces the woman who ran for president more than a century ago. That mountain-moving determination emerges as the recurring theme of her public life as she obtained a law degree, fought for equal rights, and ultimately became the first woman to receive certified votes during her 1884 presidential campaign. The book focuses largely on that presidential run, though many of Lockwood's other accomplishments are mentioned, such as arguing a case before the Supreme Court and her trendsetting use of an early version of a tricycle. A closing author's note and a time line fill in more details. The narrative generally provides just enough information to convey Lockwood's achievements and the challenges she faced. Though groundbreaking, her candidacy inspired opposition and ridicule, not just from men, but from women and even other suffragists. Quotes from Lockwood and others enliven the text. Her letter to President Grant regarding the denial of her law school diploma, for example, neatly demonstrates her polite but forceful personality. Handsome illustrations clearly set the time and place, and Lockwood's fortitude comes through in her posture and facial expressions. She is an appealing historical figure, and, with little available about her for younger readers, this is an especially timely and useful biography.-Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR

Kirkus Reviews
In 1884 Belva Lockwood ran for president, although as women she and her female running mate could not vote. She actually received some history-making votes in the election that Grover Cleveland won (and, in fact, he may well have carried New York thanks to misapplied Lockwood votes). The path to the 1884 election was not smooth: Widowed and remarried with a daughter, Belva went to law school where she was not allowed to take classes with men and where her degree was withheld until she wrote to President Grant, who was also president of the law school, and demanded her diploma. She was the first woman to practice law in federal courts and the first to argue a case before the Supreme Court. Bardhan-Quallen's simply told narrative argues effectively for Lockwood's place in history books. Martin's illustrations are stiff and unconvincing, however, and, rather mysteriously, almost always picture Lockwood with her cat-even in law school. Useful but not exciting, which is too bad. (author's note, glossary, timeline, bibliography) (Picture book/biography. 6-10)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780810971103
Publisher:
ABRAMS
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Pages:
32
Product dimensions:
8.80(w) x 10.70(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
5 - 7 Years

Meet the Author


Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen has written a number of books for children. She lives in New Jersey. Visit her online at sudipta.com. Courtney Martin is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design. She lives in Manchester, Connecticut. Visit her online at camartinart.com.

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