Little Leaders: Bold Women in History Book Review.
By Vashti Harrison
We were very Kindly gifted a copy of Vashti Harrison's Little Leaders: Bold Women in History book. We are huge fans of Vasht's work and purchased her art work as soon as we found her on instagram! We actually pre-ordered this book as soon as it was announced, we knew it would be an informative, cute keepsake. As this book is about little leaders we decided that it would be good for the little leaders in our lives to review and with SATs are taking place in the uk soon I thought I'd ask my little leader to do a book review. She only moaned a little but, felt cheated when she finished and overheard me saying that it was a sneaky contribution to her SATs prep!
Little Leaders is a very inspiring book that can enjoyed by anyone. This book inspires you to make great changes that can make the world better. All of the women in this book are very significant they changed things for black people and women of all backgrounds. When you first open the book and turn a few pages you will see information about Mary Prince.
Mary Prince, was born into slavery and went through extremely hard times. When Mary’s master was away on business she took the courageous step to act in defiance. Mary learnt how to read and earned some of her own money, which was forbidden for black people in America at that time. In 1826 she met and married a free man, however when her owners found out she was severely beaten. She travelled to England two years later and swiftly escaped to freedom. Mary Prince began to campaign for the abolition of slavery throughout the British Empire, which means putting an end to slavery anywhere in the British Empire. In 1831, she wrote and published her autobiography, “The History of Mary Prince, a West Indian Slave, Related by Herself”. Finally, in 1833, the Slavery Abolition Act was passed and slavery was outlawed.
Firstly, I find Mary Prince motivational because of the bold steps she took in life. Secondly, I think that her autobiography reached out to people to help them understand that they should put an end to slavery forever.
Sojourner Truth was born into slavery in New York (NY) under the name Isabella Baumfree, she was due to become a free person in 1827. Sojourner became aware that her owner was planning to keep her enslaved so she decided to run away with her infant daughter, sadly having to leave her five-year-old son behind. Sojourner hid in NY until her freedom became official. Then she started a court case to get her son back, fortunately her case was a success. In 1843 she changed her name to Sojourner (which means traveller) and became a preacher. In December 1851 Sojourner gave a speech made up on the spot. The speech is known by it’s most famous refrain: “Ain’t I A Woman?”.
Firstly, Sojourner was very brave with her actions to save herself and her family which I admire her for. Secondly, I admire her for continuing to stand up for herself and her rights at a time when black people were thought of as property with no rights.
Mary Seacole was born in the British Colony of Jamaica to a Scottish father and Jamaican mother. Mary’s mother taught her how to be a nursing and healer. Mary used traditional remedies to heal patients and kept a boarding house for invalid soldiers, from an early age. As a young woman, Mary explored the Caribbean, visiting Cuba, Haiti and the Bahamas all on her own which was unusual for a woman at that time. Mary also travelled with her husband, Edwin Seacole, who died after eight years of marriage. Mary continued exploring, her travels included Central America and then Britain. Along the way she learned some new medicine techniques. In 1853 a war began along the Crimean Peninsula in Eastern Europe. Mary wanted to help and be a military nurse, but the British War Office refused. This didn’t stop her. With help from a friend she set up a boarding house behind the enemy lines. She provided food, drinks and clothing for the wounded soldiers. Mary bravely nursed soldiers on the battlefield as well as in the hotel. Her dedication to the army was remarkable. On the 30th June 2016 a statue of her unveiled at St Thomas’s Hospital in London honouring her as a pioneer in her field. She is remembered as a brave and fearless leader.
Firstly, I admire Mary Seacole for her brave actions on the battlefield and willingness to help others in the face of danger. Secondly, I admire her for being adventurous and travelling around the world not worrying about what people think about the colour of her skin or her gender as she spent a lot of time travelling alone.
Very little was recorded about Mary’s life. However, we do know that she was born into slavery in Richmond, Virginia, around 1840. She was purchased by the wealthy Van Lew family. The Van Lew’s were no ordinary family, they had a secret. They were spies for the free Northern States, and abolitionists involved in the secret Underground Railroad. Before the Civil War, when Mary was still in her teens, Elizabeth Van Lew (spy pretending to be a slave owner) granted her freedom and arranged for her to receive education in Philadelphia. Unfortunately, at that time in the Southern American states it was illegal for a black person to be educated or even learn to read so her education was kept a secret.
As a slave, Mary could hide in plain sight so, she agreed to go undercover in the House of Jefferson Davis. While cleaning she would glance at confidential memos and passed the information on to Elizabeth, who passed them on to Union officials. Eventually, she disappeared completely but she is never forgotten. In 1995, Mary Bowser was inducted into the American Military Intelligence Hall of Fame.
Firstly, I admire Mary because she was very courageous with her choice to become a spy. Secondly, she was very fortunate because she wasn’t treated in a bad way instead she was treated like a friend.
All credit goes to Vashti Harrison for creating a wonderful book. As I said in the beginning this book can be enjoyed by anyone of any background or gender. You can buy the book here.
Thank you for reading my blog.
Whilst this book was gifted the review is my daughter's genuine thoughts and we had pre-orderd before Penguin approached us. As we have a spare copy we will be paying the love forward with a giveaway. All you need to do to have a chance of winning is to join our mailing list here.
Vashti has another gorgeous book coming out in Autumn, "Little Leaders: Visionary Women Around the World" which you can pre-order here.
Little Leaders: Visionary Women Around the World features the true stories of 40 women creators, ranging from writers to inventors, artists to scientists, Little Leaders: Visionary Women Around the World inspires as it educates. Readers will meet trailblazing women like Mary Blair, an American modernist painter who had a major influence on how color was used in early animated films, actor/inventor Hedy Lamar, environmental activist Wangari Maathai, architect Zaha Hadid, filmmaker Agnes Varda, and physicist Chien-Shiung Wu. Some names are known, some are not, but all of the women had a lasting effect on the fields they worked in.
Vashti Harrison is an artist and filmmaker with a passion for storytelling. Vashti earned her MFA in Film/Video from California Institute of the Arts, where she snuck into animation and illustration classes to learn from Disney and DreamWorks legends. There she rekindled a love for drawing and painting. Vashti’s experimental films and documentaries have shown around the world at film festivals, and she now uses her love of both film and illustration to craft beautiful stories for children. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, USA.
You can read more about Vashti here