Title: Elizabeth Leads the Way: Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the Right to Vote
Author: Tanya Lee Stone
Illustrator: Rebecca Gibbon
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Flesch-Kinkaid Grade Level: 3.8
Concepts: property rights, discrimination, work, jobs
Review: Already at a young age, Elizabeth understood that American society considered girls inferior to boys. As she grew older, she became increasingly angry that women did not have the right to claim ownership of property or the money they earned, they could not attend the same colleges as men, they were not allowed to vote, and they were expected to have babies and stay home to take care of their families. She realized that one of the most effective ways to change women’s status as secondary citizens and to change the existing laws was to give women the right to vote.
Together with several like-minded women, she wrote the Declaration of Rights and Sentiments, which called for a broad range of social, economic, legal, and political reforms to boost the status of women in American life. The Declaration was signed at the first American women's rights convention held in Seneca Falls, NY, in 1848. The demand for women's right to vote was the most controversial reform proposed at the convention, and Elizabeth worked the rest of her life to fight for women’s right to vote.
This well-researched book does a nice job in explaining to children that the right to vote plays an important role in improving women’s economic and social status. By emphasizing this link, the book embraces several concepts in economics related to human resources, work, discrimination, and property rights. Historical narratives about Elizabeth Cady Stanton abound, but Elizabeth Leads the Way is one of the few accounts of Elizabeth’s leading role in the women’s rights movement that is accessible to younger readers.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children