Philomel Books has announced plans to expand Chelsea Clinton’s series of picture books showcasing women changemakers, which launched with She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World (2017) and She Persisted Around the World: 13 Women Who Changed History (2018). There are two components to the expansion of the series, which has more than 1.3 million copies in print in North America. A companion picture book, She Persisted in Sports: American Olympians Who Changed the Game, will pub on September 22, and a chapter book series for readers ages six to nine will debut next January.
She Persisted in Sports, which like its predecessors is illustrated by Alexandra Boiger, celebrates American women who have overcome challenges to triumph in various athletic arenas. Women showcased include gymnast Simone Biles, Mia Hamm and the 1996 Olympic soccer team, fencing champion Ibtihaj Muhammad, track and field icon Wilma Rudolph, tennis aces Venus and Serena Williams, and figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. A Spanish-language edition of the book, Ella persistió en el deporte, will be released simultaneously.
Written by an array of award-winning and bestselling authors, She Persisted chapter book biographies will feature introductions by Clinton, cover art by Boiger, and interior illustrations by Gillian Flint. Each of the monthly installments will focus on a woman profiled in She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World, among them Harriet Tubman (Andrea Davis Pinkney), Sally Ride (Atia Abawi), Sonia Sotomayor (Meg Medina), Florence Griffith Joyner (Rita Williams-Garcia), Ruby Bridges (Kekla Magoon), Maria Tallchief (Christine Day), Helen Keller (Courtney Sheinmel), and Oprah Winfrey (Renée Watson).
The title of the books references Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s censure of Senator Elizabeth Warren—“She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted”—when she tried to read Coretta Scott King’s words on the floor of the Senate, during the 2017 confirmation hearings for Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The critique has become a feminist rallying cry, and the inspiration for Clinton’s collective biographies.
“Chelsea Clinton’s books have sparked important conversations about the achievements of women,” said Pinkney, whose biography of Tubman kicks off the new series. “It’s an honor to be among the ‘Persisterhood’ of authors Chelsea has assembled to introduce such an impressive collection of notable sheroes. Harriet Tubman’s story is especially relevant today. Her persistence, ingenuity, and grit brought the rights of women and people of color onto the national stage and helped define the true meaning of equality as we currently know it.”
By amplifying the message of her She Persisted picture books with the spinoff series, Clinton aims to further enlighten and embolden young readers. “My hope is to expand what they see as possible for themselves, their sisters, classmates, friends, and our world,” she said in a statement. “And I hope that all children will continue to be inspired and empowered by the incredible women whose persistence has helped make our world brighter, more exciting, healthier, and more just.”