No Steps Behind: Beate Sirota Gordon’s Battle for Women’s Rights in Japan

Jeff Gottesfeld, illus. by Shiella Witanto. Creston, $18.99 (44p) ISBN 978-1-939547-55-2
Beate Sirota Gordon was just 22 years old when her stellar language skills landed her on the U.S. team tasked with writing a new Japanese constitution at the end of WWII. Her family had fled from Russia to Japan to escape anti-Semitism, and as she grew, Gordon “came to love her new home,” though she disliked its sexism, exemplified through “ugly proverbs” such as “women walk three steps behind.” Gordon advocated for Japanese women’s rights as the new constitution was devised, writing the language for Article 14, which enshrined equality. Her contribution “should have made headlines.... But the United States considered it a security secret.” Gottesfeld’s compelling telling is supplemented by comprehensive notes. Witanto’s illustrations richly render the story of an immigrant’s contribution with the precision of old snapshots. Ages 7–12. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/02/2020
Release date: 03/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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