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Vashti Harrison Books In Order

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Publication Order of Little Leaders Books

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History (2017)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World (2018)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Little Leaders: Exceptional Men in Black History (2019)Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Vashti Harrison
Vashti Harrison is an author, filmmaker, and illustrator born in Virginia but based in New York. She was awarded a BA in Media Studies and Studio Art from the University of Virginia. The author also received an MFA in Film and Video from the California Institute of Arts.

Some of her films were experimental and had a Caribbean origin and folklore. They were screened at the New York Film Festival, Edinburgh International Film Festival, and Rotterdam International Film Festival.

Vashti is known for her bestselling novel Little Leaders, which tells stories of bold African-American women who shaped history. The book was nominated for an NAACP Image Award before its release date.
Little Leaders
Little Leaders is a story of 40 notable women in US history, each with 2-3 paragraphs of biography. The women distinguished themselves in various fields, including sports, science, arts, and civil rights.

It’s a collection of a group of black women who played a role in history. Every portrait is accompanied by a brief autobiography hightlighting how those women changed the world.
Vashti Harrison wrote the book to highlight the stories people rarely hear and appreciate the black women’s contribution to the history of America. Through an exploratory process, the author came up with the list of the women to cover in the book where some of the names led to the others.

The women are from different fields and backgrounds, making the story more diversified. She used resources like Encyclopedia Britannica and Biography.com to get more information. Her love for documentaries also helped her in writing the book. The connection between the women’s biographies is amazing; for instance, Dr. Mae Hemison applied to NASA since she loved watching Nichelle Nichols play Lieut. Uhura on Star Trek.

Mahalia Jackson and Josephine Baker were on stage when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous speech on ‘I Have a Dream. The stories of these prominent black women have a beautiful connection and are viewed as a community instead of individuals.

Vashti Harrison seems connected to Augusta Savage’s biography and her craft. She loved making art even when her family was against it and made her life difficult. Augusta persisted and struggled with finances and racism throughout her entire career.

Some of the figures are too iconic, for instance, Rosa Parks and Harriet Tubman, while others feel fresher. The most refreshing part is that she found a way, and being a teacher naturally believed that her challenges were making a path for better artists and believed that her legacy would live on in their success.
The illustrations in Little Leaders are interesting to keep the reader engaged. During an interview, Vashti Harrison talks of how the story of Ruby Bridges impacted her as a young girl. She was introduced to her story through art, and she’s illustrated in painting. The beautiful art helped her connect to history; that’s why she decided to write the Little Leaders.

The bios are clear and engagingly written to keep the readers hooked. Vashti covers the background quickly to give the reader a complete overview while spicing the profiles with choices that humanize the figures. The illustrations are kid-friendly, and the faces are interchangeable because the author wants every reader to see themselves in any of them.

Every figure resembles a child with a round face, closed eyes, and modestly downcast. The collection serves as an eye-opener and a great inspiration for all young girls. The author includes their portrait with bright but straightforward backgrounds to contextualize their achievements.
The book embraces leadership both in past and present and across different fields. Information in this book can be helpful for budding researchers, and Harrison’s artwork offers heartwarming images that are ideal for kids.

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the world
This is an illustrated collection of different biographies of women worldwide and throughout history that had big dreams and lived to fulfill those dreams. Vashti Harrison uses the same format she used in Little Leaders to expand her focus. The author writes in chronological order page by page, starting from the philanthropist of the ninth century in North Africa, Fatima Al-fihri.

The book also highlights how Fatima oversaw and funded the construction of a big mosque in modern Morocco. Back then, it was used as a madarasa study place and later became a building for future universities. Wang Zhenyi is an 18th-century astronomer, mathematician, and poet in China and underestimates the idea that science and poetry are connected.

The biographies include architect Maya Lin with a page of her life as a youth, her environment, accomplishments, and a full-page portrait. All the portraits in the book feature all-rounded faces with eyes closed and same arched eyebrows and upturned smile, while the objects and clothing represent the woman who is being honored. The skin color, hair, and dress code of the women and the portrait’s background reflect their life achievements.

Some names might be familiar, while others might be new to some readers, for instance, Asima Chatterjee, an Indian organic chemist, and Esther Afua Ocloo, a business lady from Ghana. The women have something in common for pursuing opportunities by using their talents even when the world is not ready for them.
Adult readers may recognize some women like scientist Marie Curie and author Toni Morrison which introduce them to various cultures to explore. For the kids, there might also be some familiar names for them too.

The book, in some way, matches Little Leaders, just that the reading level is higher because of how the ladies go on an intellectual journey. This will be a delightful read for readers who love art, science, activism, and discoveries.

Other eighteen figures have been profiled before the back page. This is another volume by Vashti Harrison to enrich every home, library, and school while inspiring yet another generation of big dreamers. The book encourages young girls to explore beyond their cultural boundaries.
It highlights significant contributions in prominent women’s work to preserve and celebrate what seems to be a disappearing culture. The author uses beautiful illustrations to make the reader more curious.

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