As we celebrate the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment this August, readers everywhere are in for a treat with a new picture book about suffrage, time travel, and lesser-known history in Camilla Can Vote by Mary Morgan Ketchel and her mother, Senator Marsha Blackburn. 

Senator Marsha Blackburn is the first woman elected to the Senate from her home state of Tennessee, and her daughter, co-author Mary Morgan Ketchel, got to exercise her right to vote to help her get there. Their teamwork in this new picture book not only brings kids of the modern day into the story of suffrage in a fun and accessible way, but it also introduces the world to a lesser-known historical moment about the man from Tennessee who cast the deciding vote that ratified the 19th Amendment. 

Camilla’s class trip to the local history museum to see their women’s suffrage exhibit turns into a time travel trip and a lesson she’ll never forget. As she learns about suffrage and the women’s rights movement of the early 20th century, Camilla gets pinned with a yellow rose pin. She’s suddenly taken back to August 18, 1920, the day that Tennessee would become the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, making it official–it was going to be added to the Constitution!

When the 19th Amendment passed through Congress, it then had to be approved (aka: ratified) by the states. Many states did so right away, but it was Tennessee who would be the state that ultimately gave the Amendment what it needed to be officially ratified. It wasn’t a sure thing though, and as Camilla discovers, the “War of the Roses” was fascinating, contentious, and yet it changed so much for so many.

As someone who works in libraries and reads a lot of children’s literature, this book is splendid. The illustrations, an example of which you can see below, are accessible, light-hearted, and fun, and the text really serves its story. You follow Camilla–a funny, likeable character with a real voice–and you learn so much along the way. I’ve studied history extensively and read a lot about the suffrage movement, but this is the first I’ve heard of Harry T Burns of Tennessee.  

Credit: Camilla Can Vote

I cannot wait to see this book added to collections all over the country. It’s not only a fun way to teach kids about women’s suffrage, but it’s a great way to make them feel actively involved in the history making moments of the past and present. Plus, it being authored by a female senator and her daughter makes it even more special. 

Camilla Can Vote: Celebrating the Centennial of the Women’s Right to Vote is on sale wherever books are sold on July 14, 2020. It will make a great addition to any reading list or educational moment during this important anniversary!

Future Female Leaders is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member