Fresh, accessible, and inspiring, Shaking Things Up introduces fourteen revolutionary young women—each paired with a noteworthy female artist—to the next generation of activists, trail-blazers, and rabble-rousers. The stellar ensemble of picture book illustrators include Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, Lisa Brown, Hadley Hooper, Emily Winfield Martin, Oge Mora, Julie Morstad, Sara Palacios, LeUyen Pham, Erin K. Robinson, Isabel Roxas, Shadra Strickland and Melissa Sweet.
Hood highlights female activists in an impressive array of fields — firefighting (Molly Williams, first known female firefighter in the U.S.), paleontology (Mary Anning, who at age thirteen discovered an ichthyosaur), librarianship (Pura Belpré), journalism (Nellie Bly), undercover operatives (Jacqueline and Eileen Nearne), architecture (Maya Lin), and much more. The first female African American astronaut is here (Mae Jemison), as well as Frances Moore Lappé, food writer and anti-hunger activist: She “keeps Earth’s soil and water clean / … helps the hungry grow more beans … / This is the Earth that Lappé dreamed.” Each poem and illustration is followed by a brief bio of each woman, and the book closes with a list of sources and information for further reading.
“I chose to write this book … to celebrate the world I want for my daughters, my new granddaughter, and the young girls and boys out there,” Hood writes in an author’s note. If I could give her a fist bump for including “and boys” there, I would. And that’s because boys need to see these stories of powerful women just as much as girls do.
Selina Alko, Sophie Blackall, and LeUyen Pham are among 13 woman illustrators whose artwork accompanies Hood’s biographical tributes to trailblazing women, several of whom are far from household names. Multistanza poems do a fine job of encapsulating each woman’s life, and they’re bolstered by quotations, supplementary paragraphs, a timeline, and back matter. “Buried Treasure,” about paleontologist Mary Anning, is a concrete poem that takes the shape of her discovery: an ichthyosaur (the phrase “fabulous flippers” forms one flipper). Swimmer Annette Kellerman, who modernized women’s swimwear, is joined by a mermaid in Emily Winfield Martin’s images (“Who can swim fifty laps/ wearing corsets and caps?” she protests after being arrested for swimming without pantaloons). These encouraging profiles of astronauts, artists, and activists both honor past accomplishments and point toward ways young readers themselves might change the world, too. Ages 4–8.
New York Journal of Books
"This book stands out from the rest for so many reasons. The collaboration, the women chosen, the layout, the bonus material all make it a one-of-a-kind biography that will surely start a new genre of picture book biographies. ... groundbreaking."
—Susan Middleton Elya
Shelf Awareness (starred review)
“Each poem and illustration shines with a personality all its own.Shaking Things Up also has back matter for invested readers, including an author's note, sources, books and websites. All of the young women discussed in this picture book 'dared to step out of the box' and, for that, 'the world is a better place.'