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Madam President: The Extraordinary, True (and Evolving) Story of Women in Politics

"With uncommon brio, Thimmesh traces the course of women in the modern international political arena, profiling with even-handed admiration pivotal figures . . . a spectacular mix of entertainment, information, and inspiration." — Kirkus, starred review

About the Book

When Abigail Adams asked her husband to "Remember the Ladies," women could not vote or own property in America. Seventy years later, when Elizabeth Cady Stanton wrote, "To vote is the most sacred act of citizenship," the government of the United States still did not treat women as equals, having yet to grant them the right to vote. But sixty-four years after that, Geraldine Ferraro declared, "We can do anything," and became the first American woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket. Today, surely our country is ready for a leader who, as Elizabeth Dole said, "will call America to her better nature."

Madam President illuminates the bravery and tenacity of these and other women who have paved the way in politics. With an engaging, conversational narrative, fascinating quotes, and elegant illustrations, it not only shows how far women have come, but also reveals the many unsung roles women have played in political history. Women profiled include Hillary Rodham Clinton, Condaleeza Rice, and Eleanor Roosevelt, as well as Benazir Bhutto, Margaret Thatcher, and Vigdis Finnbogadottir.

Step by step, these capable women have paved the way for our young leaders of tomorrow. They have enabled and empowered young women to ask today, "Well, why not the presidency?" A timeline helps puts the past 235 years of women in international political history into perspective, and a fantastic photomosaic of images of girls of all ages creates a White House — at least temporarily — populated by women.

This timely book, published during one of the most intense election years in recent history, is certain to get readers of all ages and both genders thinking about the role of women in politics throughout history and for years to come. The idea for Madam President began when, at three in the morning, Catherine Thimmesh was lamenting that the upcoming presidential election would still not have a woman as a serious contender. Wondering aloud, "When? When, Madam President?" she realized how much she liked those words. Thimmesh hopes to inspire girls to seek leadership roles and maybe one day run for president themselves — and in the meantime, encourage their intelligent mothers.

About the Author

Catherine Thimmesh is the author Girls Think of Everything, winner of the IRA Children's Book Award, and The Sky's the Limit, winner of the Minnesota Book Award. Thimmesh hopes to inspire girls to seek leadership roles and maybe one day run for president themselves — and in the meantime, encourage their intelligent mothers. She recently appeared in the History Channel special "The Mothers of Invention." She lives with her family in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

About the Illustrator

Douglas B. Jones's illustrations have appeared in many publications, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal. He lives in Victoria, British Columbia. This is his children's book debut.


Take this quiz to test your own knowledge of women in political history. For answers, read Madam President (or look below).

1) Over the course of our nation's history, more than 12,000 people have served in the Congress. Roughly what percentage have been women?

a) 20%
b) 2%
c) 62%

2) How many women have been candidates for vice president of the United States?

a) one
b) twelve
c) twenty-three

3) How many of the world's nations have had women as presidents or prime ministers?

a) none
b) about two dozen
c) more than one hundred

4) Who was the first woman to run for president of the United States?

a) Elizabeth Dole
b) Hillary Rodham Clinton
c) Victoria Woodhull

5) What first lady secretly assumed presidential duties when her husband, the president, fell ill?

a) Laura Bush
b) Barbara Bush
c) Edith Wilson

6) In what country did a whole generation of kids grow up thinking that the president was always a woman?

a) Iceland
b) England
c) United States of America

7) In over two hundred years, of all the presidents of the United States, how many have been women?

a) zero
b) zip
c) nada

Answers: 1 (b), 2 (a), 3 (b), 4 (c), 5 (c), 6 (a), 7 (all of the above)

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