Chelsea Clinton is “excited” to be a part of the trend for feminist children’s books, she told The Bookseller ahead of her appearance at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.
Clinton’s most recent children's book is She Persisted Around the World (March, Penguin Random House), which profiles 13 inspirational women from around the world such as Kate Sheppard, Yuan Yuan Tan, and Mary Verghese and author J K Rowling and campaigner Malala Yousafzai. It follows on from last year’s She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World.
Both titles were inspired by Senator Elizabeth Warren, who tried to read a letter by Martin Luther King’s widow on the floor of the senate and was censured by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. “She was warned. Nevertheless, she persisted,” said McConnell.
Clinton told The Bookseller: “She Persisted… was born out of my long-held belief that persistence is necessary to achieve anything. McConnell kept telling her to be quiet but she persisted. That was a rallying cry.”
She added: “For so long the majority of books have focused on the achievements of men. Hopefully, there is now a movement to rebalance this and make women and girls the protagonists. I’m hugely excited to be just a small part of that. It’s important for my daughter and my son."
At Edinburgh, Clinton will take part in a children's event on 19th August and will then join an “in conversation” gig with Sally Magnusson on 20th August. She previously spoke to audiences at the Hay Festival and the Stoke Newington Literary Festival and said it was important to reach diverse audiences.
“I love it when they tell me about their favourite characters. I also love it when boys tell me about their favourite characters… In Canada two little boys asked for a ‘He Persisted’ book and it was a hopeful moment because they were suddenly an underrepresented demographic. I said even though I probably wouldn’t write that book I hoped they would write it one day.”
The book is illustrated by Alexandra Boiger and Clinton said she enjoyed the collaborative process of working with an artist and sending drafts back and forward. “I would do a draft, send it to her and then we would talk about the images and why she chose the colours. It was important to be historically accurate, even though in some cases we don’t know what these women looked like. It was an interesting process.”
Tickets for Clinton’s events at Edinburgh International Book Festival will go on sale on 26th June.