dean-featured-two-friends-04Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass

Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass lived near each other in Rochester, New York. Susan was a champion of women’s rights, and Frederick a champion of African American rights. In this picture book, they meet in Susan’s parlor to chat and support one another. They go out and fight for what they believe in—after taking a break for a cup of tea.

Nominated for the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List: Best Feminist Books for Young Readers.


Reviews of Two Friends

A visit by Frederick Douglass to the home of Susan B. Anthony is at the center of this charming book about the intersections of women’s rights and African-American rights. Dean Robbins presents the two struggles as different but parallel — each historical figure wonders why their kind can’t have ‘the right to live free. The right to vote.’ The husband-and-wife illustration team of Sean Qualls and Selina Alko blend lovely, lush painting and an elegant layer of text art, with regal streams of smudgy handwritten words and snippets of vintage print.

— New York Times

The stylish ‘Two Friends’ imagines the meeting between two great progressive minds of the 19th century. When writer/orator Frederick Douglass joins suffragist Susan B. Anthony at her home for tea, he learns of her fighting an educational system that doesn’t grant equal access to women, and in turn recounts the hardship of his enslaved childhood. Given such weighty material, ‘Two Friends’ is remarkably light on its feet, the composition of the pages lively and dynamic and the political figures rendered with high-beam charm.

— USA Today

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dean-featured-two-friends-04Miss Paul and the President: The Creative Campaign for Women’s Right to Vote

In the 1910s, Alice Paul had loads of creative ideas for convincing President Woodrow Wilson to support voting rights for women. She organized a fancy parade, a letter-writing campaign, a train tour, and a demonstration at the White House gate, all designed to get the president’s attention. He finally came around to supporting the vote for women—with a bit of help from his own daughter!

Nominated for the American Library Association’s Amelia Bloomer List: Best Feminist Books for Young Readers.


Reviews of Miss Paul and the President

This picture book biography introduces young readers to Alice Paul, the suffragist and women’s rights activist. Readers will learn of Paul’s fierce efforts to win the right to vote for women, including putting together a parade in Washington, D.C., that upstaged the incoming president, Woodrow Wilson; organizing protesters outside the White House; and directly confronting President Wilson on the matter of women’s suffrage. The author connects these efforts (“making mischief”) to Paul’s wild youth, a time when she sneaked candy, chased chickens, and threw mud balls. Watercolor and color pencil illustrations support this spirited view with lively movement and color as she is shown leading a parade of 8,000 women, sitting in President Wilson’s office and looking him right in the eye, protesting outside the White House gate, and even being hauled off to jail by the police for refusing to leave the grounds. This is an engaging introduction to an important and often neglected historical figure.

— School Library Journal

In time for the national elections, the story of an ardent early-20th-century fighter for women’s suffrage. The simple narrative ably explains and arouses respect for Alice Paul’s ardor and achievements. The cheery, cartoony illustrations, created in watercolor, colored pencil, and other media, show Paul in her signature floppy purple hat. Useful for discussions about women’s rights and political influence.

— Kirkus Reviews

Dean Robbins makes clear for a quite young audience through both main narration and endnote that there were very specific obstacles that had to be overcome to extend the vote to women (Congressional action and the ratification of a Constitutional Amendment), and winning the endorsement of the president was a vital first step. Librarians and educators seeking accessible materials to draw pre-primary children into election year topics will want to consider this.

— Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, University of Illinois

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About me

I’m a children’s author who lives with my family in Madison, Wisconsin. Ever since I was a boy, and throughout my career as a journalist, I’ve been fascinated by real-life heroes. My picture books are about people like Frederick Douglass, who fought to end slavery; Susan B. Anthony and Alice Paul, who championed women’s rights; and Margaret Hamilton, who broke barriers for women in science. Read more»

Click here to listen to my interview about Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass on National Public Radio.

See here to read my op-ed article about Alice Paul in USA Today.