The 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution provided women with the right to legally vote. It is an important part of our country’s history. Being a female US citizen, I am grateful for my ability to vote… And grateful that my daughters will someday be able to vote, too.
When I found the picture book Miss Paul and the President by Dean Robbins at the public library, I was thrilled to read it to my daughters. It provided another opportunity to teach my children about our country’s history, the courage of many women who have gone before us, and the truth that men and women are of equal value and worth.
Miss Paul and the President explains how Alice Paul and other suffragettes worked tirelessly to bring the issue of the women’s vote to national attention. She met with then-President Wilson, organized peaceful marches in Washington, D.C., and traveled the country as part of a dedicated effort to influence Congress to pass the 19th Amendment. And in the 1920 presidential election, she was among millions of other women who cast their ballots for the first time in American history.
In reading this book, I couldn’t help but think of to the numerous women in the Bible who worked with equal bravery and commitment: the Hebrew midwives who refused to kill babies as the Egyptian king commanded (Exodus 1); Abigail, who successfully negotiated with David and his soldiers in the wake of her husband’s foolish and reckless behavior (1 Samuel 25); Deborah’s distinguished service as judge over Israel (Judges 4); and Lydia, a prominent leader in the early Christian church who ran her own business (Acts 16).
My Christian faith has given me a firm belief in the value and dignity of both men and women in God’s eyes. Despite the fact that some people have historically misused the Bible to promote their own agendas regarding gender roles, the Bible stands out among any other writings of its time. The Bible asserts that men and women are created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27) and that there is no distinction between the worth of men and women in God’s eyes (Galatians 3:28).
Jesus Himself demonstrated counter-cultural behavior during His time, astonishing even His closest friends and disciples at times. He spoke with women in public with respect and compassion, even if they did not share his same religious background or were viewed as moral people (John 4, Matthew 15, John 12). He healed women and young girls, as well as men, without discrimination (Luke 4, Luke 8).
Whatever your personal faith and convictions, I am sure that you will find Miss Paul and the President to be an exceptional read in the classroom at home. Plus, there are extra notes and a bibliography included at the end of the book for your perusal!
To read another excellent book by this author, see my previous post on Friendship in Hard Times.
Best Ages: 1st grade – 4th grade
Check out this article to find out more about the 19th Amendment.