Monday, September 18, 2023

Dare to Question: Carrie Chapman Catt’s Voice for the Vote By Jasmine A. Stirling

Dare to Question: Carrie Chapman Catt’s Voice for the Vote

By Jasmine A. Stirling; Illustrated by Udayana Lugo

Union Square Kids, a subsidiary of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.


"There will never be a true democracy until every adult, without regard to race, sex, color or creed has his or her own voice in the government."     Carrie Chapman Catt: November 1, 1917

Dare to Question is not just a story of how one woman, Carrie Chapman Catt, dedicated over 40-plus years to seeing that women were granted the right to vote. This is also a gripping tale of perseverance and a story of democracy.

Carrie Chapman Catt (1859-1947) was born in Ripon, Wisconsin. From a young age she asked questions. 

Young Carrie asked too many questions.

She wanted to know how many stars were in the sky, if germs had personalities, and how long it would take a snake egg to hatch behind her mama’s oven.”

Young Carrie also wanted to know why only her father left to vote and not her mama.

After putting herself through college (her father didn’t believe girls needed higher education), Carrie went to join the fight for suffrage.  In 1900, Susan B. Anthony, who admired Carrie for asking questions, declared her leader of the Women’s Suffrage Movement.

This informational picture book recounts how Catt’s reinvigorated the suffrage after many defeats. Catt’s felt that to attract more women to the movement, the right to vote should be celebratory, creative, and fun!

“Instead of attracting rebels on the fringe, why couldn’t The Cause appeal to mothers and shopgirls and teachers and ladies who lunch?”

On June 4, 1919, after seventy years of struggle, the United States Congress finally passed the Nineteenth Amendment that granted ALL women the right to vote! Yet, for the amendment to become law, thirty-six states had to agree. The tension builds as readers wonder if Mr. Harry T. Burn, a representative from Mouse Creek, TN, will vote "Nay" or "Aye." The Nineteenth Amendment was adopted in 1920.

Stirling’s narrative, the phrasing that captures the ups and downs of the suffragette movement, is engaging and invigorating. Paired with Lugo’s colorful, historically accurate illustrations that highlight the text, Dare to Question is an important addition to the list of books on the history of women's right to vote. 

The book does include an author’s note and a brief bio of Carrie Chapman Catt, unfortunately, there are no source notes or bibliography for further reading.

Click here to watch a 56 minute video by Iowa PBS on the life of Carrie Chapman Catt.

See some pages of the book by clicking here.

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