This imagined meeting of Two Friends, Frederick Douglass and Susan B. Anthony, over a cup of tea is the subject of Dean Robbins’ debut picture book. Robbins pairs details about each figure to give the story flavor – for example, at their meeting Susan B. Anthony wore “bloomers” and “Frederick wore a gentleman’s jacket, vest and tie”. He then goes on to describe Susan’s struggle to gain the vote for women, looping back to their teatime conversation and then deftly switching to describe Frederick’s story before finally circling back to how they helped each other to achieve rights for all people. Robbins punctuates the story with phrases about the work each has to do and then sweetly ends the story with, “They would get right to work. As soon as they finished their tea.” Illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko provide vivid images through collage and bold paintings that combine snippets of text and quotes with the storyline in a richly layered way. Robbins has since written two more picture book biographies that I would recommend – Margaret and the Moon: How Margaret Hamilton Saved the First Lunar Landing, and Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote.
Suggested Ages – This story is written for readers ages 4-8 and has a simple enough storyline for those on the young end of that range and enough detail to engage those who are a bit older. The Author’s Note at the end of the story provides further information as well as the Bibliography that invites readers to do their own research.