Rummanah Aasi
 The ongoing struggle for women's rights has spanned human history, touched nearly every culture on Earth, and encompassed a wide range of issues, such as the right to vote, work, get an education, own property, exercise bodily autonomy, and beyond. Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a fun and fascinating graphic novel-style primer that covers the key figures and events that have advanced women's rights from antiquity to the modern era.

Review: Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists is a graphic nonfiction that is informative, appealing, and self aware. Set in a futuristic classroom, the topic of women's rights (yes, I know it should be actually called human rights) and whether or not progress has been made. The narrative traces the history of women’s rights around the globe from the ancient civilizations of Sumer to present day activism. The class and readers learn about influential women from diverse backgrounds by highlighting the struggles and achievements of nearly 200 individuals who were leaders in a variety of areas of pursuit. Popular and well known women such as Pharaoh Hatshepsut and Harriet Tubman as well as others who been removed from history but rightly deserve to be better known. The content is both historical and up to the minute, with relevance to current issues, covering, among other topics, colonization, suffrage, civil rights, redress movements, the wage gap, sexual harassment, reproductive rights, and LGBTQ rights. Short comings of feminism, particularly white feminism is called out. I learned of many contemporary women activists that were not on my radar until now such as Naelyn Pike, an environmental and Indigenous rights activist, and Alice Wong, who advocates for disability rights. 
   Given the content of the graphic nonfiction, there is a nice balance between text and images. Diversity and inclusion is taken seriously. The unnamed students represent a diverse range of identities and gender expression: Five of the six students are people of color, one has a prosthetic limb, and another is hijabi. While this is a great primer into women's fight for rights, I wished the graphic novel would have source notes and suggestions for further reading, because I am definitely interested in reading and learning more.  

Rating: 4 stars

Words of Caution: The oppression of women throughout history is not sugar coated and discussed frankly in the book. Recommended for Grades 9 and up. 

If you like this book try: Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall, White Tears/Brown Scars by Ruby Hamad, Finish the Fight by Veronica Chambers
2 Responses
  1. This sounds like a good book and that it would appeal to students.

  2. I am embroiled in Cybils judging right now, for nonfiction books. I am always shocked that the Cybils committee doesn't add graphic biographies to our category but to the graphic novels category. I need to get myself onto the board!

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