Looking at the calendar in February last year, I realized that a very exciting 100-year anniversary was coming up in 2020. In 1920, American women won a grueling 72-year battle to gain the vote for themselves. It was an epic struggle that culminated in physical violence against women demanding their right as citizens to vote. They were jailed and grossly mistreated in prison. They went on hunger strikes in a bold attempt to bring attention to the cause, and they were brutally force fed. The horror of their treatment finally registered with the public and sentiment swung their way.
I wanted to get in on this momentous anniversary! Books have already started releasing, and time was running out to get one in under the wire. But I saw a way to get the story to the young, middle-grade reader -- children ages 9-13 who encounter the suffrage battle in school in those years.
My book, titled "Women Win the Vote! 19 Heroes of the 19th Amendment," introduces readers to the valiant women who gave their all to the fight. In January 2020, the book will release from W.W. Norton's Young Readers imprint. Editors and illustrators are already hard at work on the manuscript!
It has been my joy and a complete pleasure to spend a year in the company of these fascinating women. You look at old black-and-white photos and might think they are colorless women who are indistinguishable from one another. That is so not the case! Lucretia Mott, Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth, Ida B. Wells, Frances Willard, Nina Otero-Warren, Jeannette Rankin, Alice Paul -- all of them, plus so many others, devoted to the cause, but coming to it from vastly different backgrounds and having different (and sometimes quirky!) personalities.
I'll update you as the publishing process proceeds. In the meantime... I'm sewing myself a suffragette dress, donning a "Votes for Women" sash and preparing for fun school visits in 2020!