Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton and former First Lady and the 2016 Democratic Party nominee for president Hillary Rodham Clinton have co-written a book that would make a perfect gift for any girl becoming a bat mitzvah.
“The Book of Gutsy Women: Favorite Stories of Courage and Resilience” inspires, educates and encourages women of any age to “stand up to the status quo,” as the epilogue concludes.
What makes this book particularly appropriate for young women is that the chapters are short, the biographies of these chosen gutsy women are concise, and the two authors take turns explaining what these women – living or long dead – meant to them. The book captures the stories of dozens of women, some of whom will be familiar to all readers, while introducing others that are not.
As the foreword explains, “We are living through a time of upheaval and tumult around the globe, but we’re also living in an era of gutsy women from all walks of life.”
Two of those gutsy women, the Clintons, will conclude the book festival in a presentation that was sold out within 24 hours.
The Clintons explain in their book introduction why they felt the need to write this book. “Power has largely been associated with – and defined by – men since the beginning of time. Yet women have painted, written, created, discovered, invented and led for just as long. It’s simply that their work is more likely to go unrecognized – sometimes for centuries. We believe it is past time for that to change.”
Older readers of this book, who grew up enamored with strong female characters, will be particularly drawn to the Clintons’ reactions to stories they read as girls. Character standouts were Jo March from Louisa May Alcott’s “Little Women,” Meg Murray in Madeleine L’Engle’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” and the Nancy Drew detective series.
Although the book is divided into sections for women who are or were Explorers & Inventors, such as Marie Curie, Hedy Lamarr and Sally Ride, or Healers such as Florence Nightingale and Clara Barton (founder of the American Red Cross), many outstanding women are also noted under Early Inspirations, including Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Maria von Trapp and Anne Frank.
The bottom line of this book is that women have a right to reach for their dreams. What better message can be shared with young women?
The book will be featured at the festival closing event 6:30 p.m. Nov. 18 in conversation with Dr. Valerie Montgomery Rice, president and dean of Morehouse School of Medicine.