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What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?: The Story of Extraordinary… (edició 2018)
de Chris Barton (Autor)
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What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? de Chris Barton
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Chris Barton (author), Ekua Holmes (illustrator)
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan
Beach Lane Books
Hardcover, 978-1-4814-6561-8 (also available as an e-book), 48 pgs., $17.99
September 25, 2018
"When Barbara Jordan talked, we listened.” —Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton
The late Honorable Barbara Jordan grew up in Houston’s Fifth Ward. “She may have looked like other kids … acted like other kids,” Chris Barton writes. “But she sure didn’t sound like other kids. Not with that voice of hers.”
Y’all remember that voice, yes? Sounded like the voice of God, deep and rich, sounded like the voice of moral authority, the voice of profoundly felt convictions. “That big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice,” in Barton’s words. “It caused folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice.”
What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan is the new picture book from Austinite Chris Barton, author of the best-selling Shark vs. Train, Sibert Honor–winning The Day-Glo Brothers, and Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List books The Amazing Age of John Roy Lynch (2016–17) and Whoosh!: Lonnie Johnson’s Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions (2017–18).
When I spoke with Barton a few weeks ago, he called Jordan “a true Texas hero” whose career in the Texas Senate, U.S. House of Representatives, and on the faculty of the LBJ School of Public Affairs “set a shining example of how to take a natural gift and put it to use for the benefit of one’s community, state, and nation.”
The phrase “What do you do with a voice like that?” is a refrain throughout the book.
“First you give that voice something to say.” Barton writes that Jordan began with reciting poetry in church, memorizing speeches for school, and entering — and winning — oratory contests. When an African American lawyer visited Jordan’s high school to speak to the students, Jordan found her calling.
“You give it more knowledge to work with.” Jordan graduated from college and law school.
“In 1960, America was not as free or as fair a place as it could be,” Barton writes. “Barbara believed that politics could change that.” One night when a scheduled speaker at a political event wasn’t able to attend, Jordan spoke instead. The audience was inspired and Jordan, finally, “knew just what to do with a voice like that.” She ran for office.
Listening to Jordan speak about President Nixon and Watergate from her position on the House judiciary committee in 1974 gives me chill bumps every time I hear it. Y’all remember, yes? “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
As Barton writes, “The president, Barbara said, must go. The president went.” What a spectacular use of that voice in service to a nation.
Ekua Holmes is a fine artist and illustrator who lives not far from where Jordan attended law school at Boston University. Her debut picture book, Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement, won multiple awards, including a Caldecott Medal. Holmes was influenced early on by what she saw as a lack of positive images of African Americans and believes that art can help right that wrong. In her collages, she layers newspaper, photos, fabric, and other materials, to create compositions saturated in color and infused with personality.
What Do You do with a Voice Like That? is recommended for ages four to eight, grades preschool through third. The concepts are sophisticated but in Barton’s hands understandable, engaging, and inspiring for youngsters. I will pass this beautiful book along to my grandsons so they can learn, free of simple-minded jingoism, what it means to be a patriot.
Originally published in Lone Star Literary Life.
"When Barbara Jordan talked, we listened." --Former President of the United States, Bill Clinton Congresswoman Barbara Jordan had a big, bold, confident voice--and she knew how to use it! Learn all about her amazing career in this illuminating and inspiring picture book biography of the lawyer, educator, politician, and civil rights leader. Even as a child growing up in the Fifth Ward of Houston, Texas, Barbara Jordan stood out for her big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It was a voice that made people sit up, stand up, and take notice. So what do you do with a voice like that? Barbara took her voice to places few African American women had been in the 1960s: first law school, then the Texas state senate, then up to the United States congress. Throughout her career, she persevered through adversity to give voice to the voiceless and to fight for civil rights, equality, and justice. New York Times bestselling author Chris Barton and Caldecott Honoree Ekua Holmes deliver a remarkable picture book biography about a woman whose struggles and mission continue to inspire today.
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Classificació Decimal de Dewey (DDC)328.73 — Social sciences Political Science The legislative process North America United States
LCC (Clas. Bibl. Congrés EUA)
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“My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
Barton’s book begins when Jordan was growing up in Houston, where she was known for her “big, bold, booming, crisp, clear, confident voice. It caused folks to sit right up, stand up straight, and take notice.” She used her voice in public speaking and oratory contests. But she wanted to do more; she wanted to make a difference.
The first time she spoke at a political meeting, the audience was inspired by her, and Barbara got “bitten by the political bug.” The author writes that now she knew what to do with her voice: put it to public use.
Barbara started out as a Texas state senator, and in 1972, won an election to the U.S. Congress. While she made a mark there, she was also struggling with the disease of multiple sclerosis, so she went back home to Texas and became a college teacher. Barton writes:
“Barbara used her voice to instruct and implore and inspire them not just to get out and do something, but to do the right thing.”
Jordan received nearly two dozen honorary degrees and, in 1990, was named to the National Women’s Hall of Fame in Seneca, New York. She died in Austin, Texas, on January 17, 1996, from pneumonia that was a complication of leukemia.
The author concludes we can honor her memory by making our own voices heard.
Back matter includes an Author’s Note, timeline, and sources for further reading.
Award-winning illustrator Ekua Holmes adds to Jordan’s story with gorgeous mixed-media collages in bright jewel tones rich with historical references.
Note: If you want to see Barbara Jordan delivering her famous speech on July 24, 1974, you can view it at this link.
Evaluation: This book for readers 5 and up stands out for its striking illustrations and the message - much needed still - that integrity matters, and can make a difference. I would have liked to have seen more about what Jordan actually did and the bravery it required, but readers may be inspired to check out some of the sources listed and find out more. ( )