Leaders and Dreamers

Staff Picks

Leaders and Dreamers

Women's History Festival with Vashti Harrison book selections

DC Public Library will be on hand for Leaders and Dreamers: Women's History Festival with Vashti Harrison at The National Portrait Gallery Saturday, March 14, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit the Kogod Courtyard for crafts and special readings from the author/illustrator who brought us such inspiring books as Little Leaders and Dream Big, Little One and view portraits of the famous women from Ms. Harrison's books. Drop by the Library's table to sign-up for or update your library card, checkout books, learn about upcoming events and more. It all takes place at F and 8th Streets, NW, adjacent to the Gallery Place (Yellow and Green lines) and near the Metro Center (Red, Orange, Blue and Silver) Metro stops.

Checkout Vashti Harrison's illustration and stories with these acclaimed books:

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison
With simple, clear illustration and brief text Harrison introduces 40 women who defied convention. Filmaker, Julie Dash and mathematican, Katherine Johnson are among the mix of the familiar and not widely known Black women whose achievements have inspired many. This tiny but informative boardbook is a great book to share with the youngest of book lovers.

Little Legends: Exceptional Men in Black History by Vashti Harrison
In Harrison's distinctive style for the boardbook series, 35 men are highlighted with similarly short and memorable biographies. Engineer and astronaut Leland Melvin and former Vogue editor-at-large André Leon Talley are examples of contemporary figures scattered among the historical, like Supreme Court Justice, Thurgood Marshall and inventor, Benjamin Banneker. 

Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World by Vashti Harrison
Ghanian entrepreneur, Esther Afua Ocloo and architect, Maya Lin are among 36 female scientists, artists and other creators featured in an inclusive and rewarding compendium. Each biography is a feast for the eyes with brilliant, rich illustration depicting each woman's accomplishments. Readers will be tempted to read more with this great introduction to the creative spirit.

Dream Big, Little One by Vashti Harrison
The quiet tone and nighttime scenes lend a lullaby quality to yet another compendium of extraordinary women. This entry in the Little series is the most adaptable for sharing with toddlers and preschoolers while remaining informative. Writer, Maya Angelou and politician, Shirley Chisholm are among the women featured in the book with few available biographies for younger children, making this book particularly noteworthy.

Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o; illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Recipient of the 2020 Illustrator Honor Award, Sulwe is Academy Award-Winning Kenyan actress Lupita Nyong'o's debut in children's literature. Author and Illustrator take on the difficult topic of colorism with a story that is realistic and magical at the same time. Bullied by classmates five-year-old Sulwe tries to lighten her skin with light-colored food and by applying makeup. When a shooting-star takes Sulwe on an adventure that includes a tale of two goddesses, the young girl, whose name means 'star' in Luo is awakened to her beauty and strength. 

Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry; illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Readers will recognize the title and author from the most recent Award Academy Awards. Also a short film written and directed by Matthew Cherry with Vashti Harrison listed as part of the character design team, Hair Love follows Zuri and her father as the two attempt different styles on Zuri's afro-textured hair. The story is realistic and positive, and so are the illustrations. Many will be delighted by seeing themselves in this wonderful tale of the bond between father and daughter.

Festival of Colors by Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal; illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Harrison captures a story about the Hindu festival of Holi with such vibrant sweetness readers will want to revisit again and again. Siblings Chintoo and Mintoo prepare for the Hindu festival of Holi. They gather hibiscus, orchids, marigolds and irises; dry the flowers' petals; and press the petals into a powder that later goes "Poof" over all assembled. Mother and son duo, Kabir and Surishtha Sehgal provide a concise introduction the Festival of Colors, spring and beginnings. Harrison's illustration augments the text with sweet and vibrant images of the plants, the people of different complexions dressed in white and the fun they all share. This is a great book to read aloud, to learn colors or learn about the holiday.