In college, I wrote a thesis paper about Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B Anthony, and their quest for women’s suffrage. This is still a topic I am interested in, specifically how authors choose to portray these women in their retellings. My latest find is Good Girls Don’t Make History created by Elizabeth Kiehner and Keith Olwell, written by Elizabeth Kiehner and Kara Coyle, and illustrated/designed by Micaela Dawn and Mary Sanche. This is a graphic novel that covers the history of women’s suffrage from 1840 to the present day. The authors move beyond the well-known female legends and highlight those that may not be widely known.
This graphic nonfiction is told through flashbacks. Each different section starts with a present-day interaction between a few women and then flashes back to a point in history that applies to that modern situation. To begin, modern young women are preparing to vote with a few frustrated at having to wait in line. It flashes back to the start of what it took for women to get the vote. This book goes beyond the normal and focuses on what it took not just for white women to get the vote, but also what Black and indigenous women went through. As the writers note at the beginning of this book, the history of women’s suffrage has been distilled down to a short paragraph in some text books. It’s glossed over, a historical footnote, when in reality, this history is not that far in the past. The fight for the Equal Rights Amendment is discussed with Virginia becoming the 38th state to ratify the ERA in 2020. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in learning more about women’s suffrage. This history is full of protests, marches, multiple imprisonments, deaths, and a long fight for equity and equality spanning generations. This book can serve as an easy jumping off point to more research or even more important conversations. History is told from a woman’s point of view here, a necessary journey through time.