In a presidential election year, there will, of course, be political biographies. But political biographies for children? This month three children’s books about one candidate — Hillary Clinton — hit the shelves. Aimed at a variety of age groups, the books deliver a similar message of female strength, though admittedly one likely to go down easier in Democratic-leaning households.
Jonah Winter’s picture book “Hillary” (Schwartz & Wade, ages 4 to 8) begins with a slightly tongue-in-cheek overview of history’s notably strong women: Queen Elizabeth, Joan of Arc (“she was . . . kind of intense”), Rosie the Riveter, “and now there is . . . Hillary.” The first image, rendered delicately in watercolor, colored pencils and lithograph crayon by Raul Colón, shows young Hillary in a baseball cap, surrounded by tall boys, pointing assertively. “She was scrappy,” Winter writes. The tale that unfolds will be familiar to parental readers — Hillary graduating from law school, becoming a mother and first lady. There’s even a summary of her work for health care reform. In simple terms, Winter offers younger readers a portrait of someone who learns all she can and draws on her experience in tough situations. As secretary of state, “she was the hardest of workers, getting up earlier and staying up later than anyone, reading countless reports filled with important information, making decisions that might save lives or cost lives.”There is little subtlety to Winter’s depiction, and his author’s note says it most plainly: “By becoming president, she would demonstrate that a girl can grow up to be the most powerful person in the world. That’s the world where I want to live. And this is a story I am thrilled to tell.”