Cover Image: The Big Day

The Big Day

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Member Reviews

This picture book is a fictionalized version of September 6, 1919 when Agnes Sadler became the first Black woman to cast a vote in Knoxville, Tennessee. Told from the viewpoint of her granddaughter, the story follows narrator Tansy and Big Mama as they have breakfast, get dressed, and travel by streetcar to the polls. Illustrations capture the period details from 100 years ago - a vintage milk truck outside the house, women in ankle-length dresses and suffrage sashes, an antique candlestick telephone. Back matter includes an Author's Note about Agnes Sadler, a brief description of Knoxville after the Civil War, and photos of Agnes with her family and of the Tennessee Woman Suffrage Memorial in downtown Knoxville. There is also a map showing which states allowed women to vote before the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, a discussion of women's suffrage worldwide along with a timeline. A list of sources includes books, newspaper articles and references from historical journals. The book's endpapers are a collage of newspaper clippings, flyers, suffrage handbooks, registrations cards, and photos.

As a native of Knoxville I am especially pleased to see a book that depicts the results of the suffrage movement and its effect in East Tennessee. Growing up and attending schools in the area I did not hear about the Nineteenth Amendment until U.S. History class in high school; there were certainly no picture books about Black Suffrage or Women's Suffrage when I was in elementary school. I hope this book is included in many classrooms and school library collections so that young students can see how those early voters valued the privilege it took so long for them to attain.
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This is a wonderful book that would be great for a read aloud in a classroom and to be kept in a classroom library. This goes even further into the suffrage movement, one that will show a family being there. There is even newspaper articles at the end showing real life instances and people who were able to vote for the first time. Tansy is able to go to with her Grandma on the day that she is able to vote.
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As an ally, I am very sensitive to what can be perceived as offensive or potentially racist.  I am not a person of color, but I think the phrase “Big Mama” can be deemed as a racist stereotype. I also found that Big Mama’s incorrect grammar feeds into harmful stereotypes (for example, when Big Mama says “we got us the suffrage.”) After looking up and seeing that this book was written by a white woman instead of a person of color, I felt weird about finding these issues in the book. 
I am not a person of color nor am I the spokesperson of what is or is not racist. I just know that some of my Black friends would take issue with the wording and phrasing of Black women in this book.
I know the author may have wanted to try to keep it “historically accurate” instead of editing history to be “woke.” But the things mentioned above kept me from really enjoying this book as much as I wanted to.  I also did not like that the artist showed white women and Black women voting at the same time, as if both races of women got the right to vote at the same time. That is not the case. Black women were the very  last people to receive the right to vote. Depicting white and Black women together in the voting line, united under suffrage, erases the progress that Black women made by themselves.
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The Big Day walks us through the momentous occasion of when Black women gained the right to vote. Throughout the book we follow a young girl named Tansy as she and Big Mama prepare themselves for the days event. Tansy and Big Mama get ready for the day, they ride the bus, they register to vote and Tansy helps Big Mama deliver her ballot. On the way home Tansy lets everyone know that they voted. This was a really great story about a very special day. I can't imagine the feelings that Tansy or Big Mama felt but this story is a great glimpse into that day. The story was easy to follow along with beautiful illustrations. Also, the accompanying information at the end of the book was great to read about.  This children's book I would say should aim for the 8-9 year olds considering my 4 and 6 year old needed more backstory into everything. This would make a great book for opening the door into the discussion of the suffragist movements. 

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving a free copy.
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The Big Day is a beautiful picture book that presents a fictionalized account of Agnes Sadler, the first African-American woman to vote in Knoxville Tennessee.  The story of Tansy and her grandmother is accompanied by charming illustrations, whose watercolor like appearance is perfect for the time period in which the story is set.  Additional factual information is provided on the books endpapers.
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This book offers a unique perspective as we follow the first black woman to vote in Knoxville, Tennessee in 1919.   I loved that the story followed up with a historic timeline and information about the events.  pairing historical facts with a children's book is a great way to help them be interested and learn.
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Delightful picture book about what it must have been like to be able, as a black woman, to vote for the first time in Knoxville, TN.  Women didn't get the right to vote until 1919.

Based on Agnes Sadler, who was the first black woman to vote in Knoxville, the story is told from the point of view of her granddaughter, as they get ready for the big event.

My mother used to always take me with her to vote, and I did the same for my daughter.  It is a major right, and although I don't go through all the preparation that Agnes did, it is just as important.

Good historical information in the back.  Good way to show children the importance of having the right to vote.

Thanks to Netgalley for making this book available for an honest review.
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There was beautiful description in this. I felt like I was sitting with the grandmother, smelling her perfume as she was getting ready. It threw my right into the story. The day starts with Tansy waking up and getting ready for "A Big Day", but it's not the first day of school and Big Mama keeps telling her to wait and find out as they get dressed, get on the streetcar, and line up outside of a building. Tansy then finds out that women finally got the right to vote and she gets to go with Big Mama to make history. 

There is great biographical and historical information at the back of the book. I wish a little more explanation and history had been put into the main story, but overall I really enjoyed reading this!
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I got an e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

A lovely, playful look at the excitement of the first time voting. Respectfully done and based on a true story, the back matter is not to be missed. Some of it was hard to read in the e-galley, so I am looking forward to investigating the map and other things in the physical copy.
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This book was fantastic.  I got to learning about a historical figure I never knew existed.  This is a fictionalized story about Agnes Sadler and her historic vote as the first black woman to vote in Knoxville, Tennessee.  The story is told through the eyes of her daughter Tansy.  The story was lovely and the infobits in the back were entertaining and educational.  The art style is a little old fashioned for my tastes but it sets off this historical story perfectly.
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The Big Day features beautiful artwork and is the story of the suffrage movement from a black woman's point of view.  This book comes out at the perfect time with our presidential election next month.  It is an example of literary nonfiction that I know my students will relate to and enjoy!  We just started our nonfiction unit in school and this is the perfect book to share with them!  Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for this free ebook in exchange for an honest review.
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A young Black girl accompanies her grandmother (Big Mama) who is voting for the first time in 1919 in Knoxville, Tennessee. They wear their Sunday clothes, including a new hat for Big Mama, and a sash showing she is a member of the Colored Women’s Political League. The narrative is very easy to follow, although it is a little too long for a preschool storytime; it will work fine as a read-aloud in an elementary classroom. Children will relate to Tansy who tells the story, and like many children, goes with her grandmother to the polling place. The lightly colored illustrations appear to be done in watercolor, with lots of details on the home and the characters’ clothing, that help determine the time period. Based on a real person named Agnes Sadler, the book concludes with an author’s note, photos, timeline, sources, and information on women’s suffrage.
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This is a sort of day-in-the-life story of an important event in history, which is a style of picture book I am particularly fond of. While the story itself is is quite simple, the backmatter is excellent and informative. This is a good addition to any collection of books on voting, suffrage, and Black history.
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A sweet and powerful book for all readers!  Imagine preparing to vote for the first time, readers will follow a narrative of the first black woman to vote in Knoxville Tennessee.  The illustrations really help bring to life some of the history and culture of 1919 and the text will help connect this moment in time to other American history events.  Great new perspective on such a important topic!
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This book sweetly portrays the importance of voting to a singular woman as told through the interactions between a mother and daughter. The story and illustrations are charming and and would be a wonderful read-a-loud to start a lesson on women's suffrage. That said, even with the historical note at the end, the books feels incomplete. I can respect the decision to not focus on the struggle to earn the vote, the books is a celebration after all, but it also doesn't really tell all the reason why it was so momentous, just that it was.
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The Big Day by Terry Lee Caruthers would be a worthwhile addition to any school or class library.  I haven't written my full review yet, but it'll be posted on my website (Kelly's Classroom Online) when it is finished.  Terrific book and illustrations!
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A delicately illustrated and easy Introduction for children to ideas of equality both, racial and gender. This book is lovely and idea for the classroom. The pages at the back are excellent for suggesting further reading and offering some more information to the reader.
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"I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own."
The illustrations in this picture book were like artwork, so beautiful. The story of votes for women from a child's perspective was well done. This would be a great living book to accompany your history text.
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The Big Day is a fictional story celebrating Agnes Sadler and the right for African-American women to vote in Tennessee. Except for the last few pages, the bulk of the story was on Tansy getting ready for the "big day." The illustrations were cute and the historical context pages at the back were interesting and would be perfect in a classroom, I wish the book had focused more on the event than the child and her morning routine. 

Thank you NetGalley and Star Bright Books for the opportunity to read an advance reading copy.
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The Big Day is a sweet picture book that tells about a girl and her mama on the day of their very first vote. It would make a nice addition to an early elementary classroom (k-2) library as a nice read aloud prior to introducing more in depth lessons on voting, elections, civil rights, and womens' rights. There is a well written afterward that tells about the inspiration for the book.

Advanced copy provided courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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