As Sally Ride and Marian Wright Edelman both powerfully said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” When Sally Ride said that, she meant that it was hard to dream of being an astronaut, like she was, or a doctor or an athlete or anything at all if you didn’t see someone like you who already had lived that dream. She especially was talking about seeing women in jobs that historically were held by men.
I wrote the first She Persisted
and the books that came after it because I wanted young girls—and children of all genders—to see women who worked hard to live their dreams. And I wanted all of us to see examples of persistence in the face of different challenges to help inspire us in our own lives.
I’m so thrilled now to partner with a sisterhood of writers to bring longer, more in-depth versions of these stories of women’s persistence and achievement to readers. I hope you enjoy these chapter books as much as I do and find them inspiring and empowering.
And remember: If anyone ever tells you no, if anyone ever says your voice isn’t important or your dreams are too big, remember these women. They persisted and so should you.
Warmly,Chelsea ClintonTABLE OF CONTENTS
Chapter 1: Every Person Is Born with Talent
Chapter 2: Armed with Faith and Hope
Chapter 3: The Caged Bird Sings of Freedom
Chapter 4: Let Faith Be the Bridge
Chapter 5: Astonish a Mean World
Chapter 6: Phenomenal Woman
How You Can Persist
Every Person Is Born with Talent
Oprah Winfrey always loved telling stories. When she was a young girl, she didn’t have a lot of money or a lot of fancy clothes, but she had her voice and she used her voice in big and small ways.
Oprah used her voice to tell stories to anyone—and anything—that would listen. Especially to the animals on the farm in her small Mississippi town. Oprah considered the chickens and piglets her friends. She named each one and told them stories as she fed them. Sometimes, she made up grand tales. Other times, she retold the sermons she heard at church. Oprah was good at remembering what the pastor said on Sunday mornings, and she was good at memorizing the scriptures her grandmother taught her.
By the age of three, Oprah was able to read. She loved reading and speaking words, and people all around town loved hearing her. No one knew that one day she would be called the “Queen of Talk.” No one knew that one day, her voice would be heard all over the world.
Copyright © 2021 by Renée Watson with introduction by Chelsea Clinton; illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Gillian Flint. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.