Posted by Rebecca G. Aguilar, M.Ed. on October 6, 2016
Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can
By Cynthia Levinson
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publication date: 01/5/2016
“From the fullness of the heart, the mouth speaks.” Sen. Tim Kaine quoted from the Gospel of Matthew during the vice presidential debate at Longwood University in Farmville, Virginia. Nielsen estimated that only about 37 million viewers watched across nine channels carrying the debate on Tuesday. Gov. Mike Pence made an ill-conceived, but viral remark and only squeaked out a debate win by distancing himself from his boorish presidential nominee, Donald Trump.
Kaine championed his boss, the first woman nominated by a major party for president, while the results of the debate were spun as if polls didn’t favor the Democratic ticket. In an election year of absurdity, how do we sort out the drama for audiences under 18?
No need for panic. Acclaimed children’s author Cynthia Levinson is on the case with facts in a meticulously researched biography Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can.
I purchased my copy at BookPeople in Austin during the July meeting of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Levinson was there speaking about the craft tools fiction and nonfiction writers use in different ways when she touched on characterization. In this biography for readers 8 to 12, she hoped to bring to life a Hillary, who treasured her privacy, but remained a “warm, funny, thoughtful and humanly flawed person of faith.”
Hillary Rodham Clinton’s Methodist faith spans her upbringing in 1950s Park Ridge, Illinois, her formative experiences at Wellesley College, her decision to stand by Bill Clinton during impeachment and her leadership at the State Department during the Obama administration. Her public service accomplishments as First Lady of the United States, Senator and Secretary of State have matched her compelling ambition to occupy the Oval Office. Her workhorse career has not been without criticism and Levinson distills what mostly surfaced without merit and what came from self-imposed missteps.
Taking to heart the words of Methodist founder John Wesley, HRC has only been steadfast: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
According to Levinson, people who know and love HRC talk of her affability and hearty laugh.
“‘A lot of people think when you leave the White House, you ought to run for U.S. Senator from New York!’
“An acquaintance from Arkansas said this to Hillary at a holiday party in December 1997. The Christmas theme that year was ‘Santa’s Workshop.’ Standing near a tree that shimmered with sparkling lights and elves crafting miniature rocking horses, Hillary responded, ‘You’re kidding!’ Then she belted out her famous guffaw.”(p. 189)
Levinson includes eight pages of iconic photos in the biography along with a timeline and interesting sidebar notes on rules for running for president, the smart power strategy at the State Department and cultural scrutiny of powerful women’s hairstyles.
Cynthia Levinson’s Hillary Rodham Clinton: Do All the Good You Can is written with clarity, candor and respect and makes for a highly worthwhile read. Believe me.
Cynthia Levinson is also the author of We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March and Watch Out for Flying Kids! How Two Circuses, Two Countries and Nine Kids Confront Conflict and Build Community. She has written numerous nonfiction articles and short fiction for children’s magazines and conducts writing workshops for both children and adults.
Balzer + Bray, a boutique imprint of HarperCollins, publishes bold, creative and groundbreaking books for children.