Review: Suffragette by David Roberts [Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Award]
The battle for the vote was one of the most important campaigns fought in the vote for gender equality. Who were the women who raised their voices against the injustices of the political system? How did they change the law and give women a voice?
Suffragette begins in the 1800s and follows their story from the formation of campaign groups through to the Equal Franchise Act of 1928.
With chapters of one or two pages and beautiful illustrations, this book takes one of the most exciting parts of history away from dull textbooks and turns it into something which everyone wants to read about.
David Robert’s illustrations are filled with character. The people look as if they could march off the pages and enact their stories in front of our eyes. From the Bryant And May match girls, whose faces are full of stoical determination, to the women fending off police officers in the Black Friday protests, the action and facial expressions combine to make the reader feel that history is coming alive.
The book is packed with information. It would make a lovely reference book, suitable for an older reader looking to improve their understanding of history, but it is also a great introduction to the topic. Read chronologically, it charts a story of political change.
With the anniversary of the 1918 victory (when some women in the UK were granted the vote for the first time) over, the question is what relevance do the suffragettes hold in our lives today. The book’s answers are solid. Their campaigns did not, as so many people believe, end inequality among genders. We still need to question our ideas of what it means to be a man, a woman or of any gender at all. The book also shows how hard women fought for their victory, and to have their opinions acknowledged. Rights are difficult to win.
The book’s place on the CILIP Kate Greenaway shortlist couldn’t come at a more relevant time. With political views at the front of the news, it is encouraging to know that previous generations have won hard battles.
A wonderful introduction to an important topic, which deserves a place on every shelf.
The winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway medal is announced on 18th June 2019. Learn more and keep up with news of the awards on the official website.
Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Books and Riot Communications for my gifted copy of the book. Opinions my own.