by Vashti Harrison:
Little Leaders is a collection of 40 minibiographies. The Black women that the author chose to feature contributed to their field of expertise. The book covers the lives of both recognizable and lesser known female figures in Black history. These women range from artists, activists, chemists, pilots as well as many other career choices. Highlighted women include: Alma Woodsey Tomas, a painter and teacher; Alice Ball, a chemist and medical researcher who found the main treatment for leprosy; Ella Fitzgerald, a popular jazz singer, and many others who contributed to history.
Using this book as an educational tool:
Because this book intentionally features Black women, talk to your child about why such purposeful representation is necessary. Push them to consider the stereotypes they might already be noticing, asking questions like
Have you heard of any of these women before?
When you think of these professions, do you normally picture a woman or a man? A White person or a person of color?
Do you know why we tend to imagine White men in many notable professions?
Take this as an opportunity to help your child understand how the world tends to be most navigable for White people—and, especially, men. Consider tying these themes to their histories in America, such as the oppression of people of color due to historic slavery and immigration laws, or the movements that pushed for equal rights for women before they had access to things like property or voting.