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Margaret Chase Smith: A Woman for President
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Margaret Chase Smith: A Woman for President

by Lynn Plourde

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This timeline biography of Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket, highlights key moments in her personal and political life.


This timeline biography of Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to run for president on a major party ticket, highlights key moments in her personal and political life.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Sheilah Egan
Plourde and McPhail have created a very accessible and instructive look at the life of Margaret C. Smith, the first woman in U. S. history to have been elected to both houses of Congress. With the right hand pages devoted to quietly charming illustrations, the verso pages are devoted to a couple of paragraphs about this dedicated politician's life, from her childhood right up to her death in 1995 at the age of ninety-seven. Running across the bottoms on the pages are time lines showing key historical events that relate to the time frame of Smith's life, or pivotal events in women's history in general: "the right to vote, women working outside the home, women in Congress, Congressional record setters, Women in the U.S. Military, the Cold War, Women in U.S. politics," etc. Each stage of her life represented in the text is followed by a single sentence summing up that particular aspect of her life. For example, the first section about her early childhood ends with "What a daughter she was—one who came from humble roots." After the section describing her efforts to help provide gravestones for her brothers (Roland died at age one of pneumonia and Lawrence died at age two of dysentery.) we read "What a sister she was—a compassionate and responsible one." Facts about her taking over her husband's term in Congress (After Clyde Smith's sudden death, Margaret won a special election to finish his term.) are followed by "What a congresswoman she was—ready to serve at a moment's notice." This rubric is continued with "What a senator she was (she served twenty-four years in the Senate)—dedicated and hardworking." In 1964, Margaret Chase Smith ran for President of the U. S., thefirst woman to do so from a major political party (Republican). For her service to the people of America and her devotion to many Congressional projects, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1989. Back matter includes a more detailed, four page biography, more historical facts, a photograph of Smith, Internet websites, a booklist, multimedia resources, and information about the Margaret Chase Smith Gallery and the Margaret Chase Smith Library. This biography is a fine addition to the many that have been done with younger readers in mind—a picture book packed with the real life of a remarkable woman. Reviewer: Sheilah Egan
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5- In 1964, Smith became the first woman from a major political party to run for President of the United States, and her career in politics featured other highlights as well. Clear, well-paced writing traces her eventful 97 years chronologically with two or three paragraphs of text per spread. Opposite each page of text, McPhail's warm pen-and-ink and watercolor illustrations feature Smith prominently and provide appealing visual references to the various stages of her life. Plourde touches on Smith's commitment to the military and to space exploration, her courage in speaking out against McCarthyism, and her lifelong dedication to her work and values. Readers don't learn of her political party until close to the end, and there is not much background regarding her presidential bid, but that fits the scope of this biography for younger readers. Each page of text ends with a laudatory sentence highlighting one of her many roles: "What a leader she was-one who dared to speak the truth." Time lines along the bottom of each spread offer brief notes on related topics. A life expectancy time line, for example, provides perspective on the early deaths of Margaret's brothers, and a Cold War chronology complements the description of her famous "Declaration of Conscience" speech. A solid addition to biography shelves.-Steven Engelfried, Multnomah County Library, OR

Product Details

Publication date:
Product dimensions:
7.80(w) x 9.90(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
8 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

David McPhail is the acclaimed author of more than 150 books, including the much-adored Pig Pig series, THE SEARCHER AND OLD TREE, and HENRY BEAR'S PARK. David lives in Rye, New Hampshire.

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