Book Review: SHIRLEY CHISHOLM (YOU SHOULD MEET), by Laurie Calkhoven, illustrated by Shea O’Connor

Simon Spotlight’s You Should Meet series offer fantastic introductions to and explorations of a variety of important historical and contemporary individuals. While highly informative, they are also wonderfully inspirational. Lauren Calkhoven and Shea O’Connor’s Shirley Chisholm is a fabulous example of this.

While some educators, librarians, and parents may, based on their format and design, deem the You Should Meet books “too young” for a Middle Grade audience, I think they are, in fact, perfect for them. The short chapters and abundant (and beautiful!) illustrations make these books accessible to younger and emerging readers, and offer older and more confident readers an opportunity to quickly explore a figure and/or subject that, if they so choose, they can then dive into more deeply.

The You Should Meet books also have excellent back matter, explaining sometimes dense, difficult subjects in a clear, succinct manner. Shirley Chisholm features a section about the three branches of the United States’ government, plus information about voting. For all of these reasons and more, this volume of the You Should Meet series belongs in elementary and even middle school classrooms and libraries. Every child should know the story of Shirley Chisholm, and this book shares that story in a wonderful, accessible way.

Jarrett Lerner is the author of EngiNerdsRevenge of the EngiNerdsThe EngiNerds Strike Back, Geeger the Robot Goes to School, and Geeger the Robot: Lost and Found, as well as the author-illustrator of the activity book Give This Book a Title. Jarrett is also the author-illustrator of the forthcoming activity book Give This Book a Cover and the forthcoming Hunger Heroes graphic novel series (all published by Simon & Schuster/Aladdin). He cofounded and helps run the MG Book Village, an online hub for all things Middle Grade, and is the co-organizer of the #KidsNeedBooks and #KidsNeedMentors projects. He can be found at jarrettlerner.com and on Twitter and Instragram at @Jarrett_Lerner. He lives with his family in Medford, Massachusetts.

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