Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass

Dean Robbins, illus. by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Scholastic/Orchard, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-545-39996-8
Robbins’s debut introduces two mutually supportive U.S. civil rights activists, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass. After Douglass drives his horse-drawn wagon down a snowy street, the subsequent spread of a room aglow in warm candlelight shows the two friends facing each other, teacups in hand. Short, parallel biographies of these 19th-century crusaders comprise most of the narrative; each “read about rights in the United States. The right to live free. The right to vote. Some people had rights, while others had none.” The husband-and-wife team of Qualls and Alko (The Case for Loving) uses paint, colored pencil, and collage to create symbolic illustrations with a folk-art feel. Flowery script is woven cleverly into the pages: steam from teacups, Anthony’s ahead-of-her-time bloomers, and even sidewalks are filled with words and ideas endemic in their campaigns ( “Right is of no gender... is of no color”). An author’s note and bibliography conclude a visually appealing primer on these civil rights reformers. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Marietta Zacker, Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. Illustrator’s agent: Rebecca Sherman, Writers House. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 10/19/2015
Release date: 01/01/2016
Genre: Children's
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