The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne

A picture book cover with an african american woman holding up her fist.

The Power of Her Pen: The Story of Groundbreaking Journalist Ethel L. Payne (2020)
Author: Lesa Cline-Ransome, Illustrator: John Parra
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, Age: 4 to 8

Renowned author Lesa Cline-Ransome and celebrated illustrator John Parra unite to tell the inspiring story of Ethel Payne, a groundbreaking African American journalist known as the First Lady of the Black Press.

“I’ve had a box seat on history.”

Ethel Payne always had an ear for stories. Seeking truth, justice, and equality, Ethel followed stories from her school newspaper in Chicago to Japan during World War II. It even led her to the White House briefing room, where she broke barriers as the only black female journalist. Ethel wasn’t afraid to ask the tough questions of presidents, elected officials, or anyone else in charge, earning her the title, “First Lady of the Black Press.”
Fearless and determined, Ethel Payne shined a light on the darkest moments in history, and her ear for stories sought answers to the questions that mattered most in the fight for Civil Rights.

“A solid treatment of an important but little-known figure, and it may prompt kids to think about the role and composition of a free press.” —BCCB

“Cline-Ransome tells [Ethel Payne’s] story with economy and drive. ‘Somebody had to do the fighting,’ she quotes Payne saying, ‘somebody had to speak up.’” —Publishers Weekly

"The moments from Payne’s life that Cline-Ransome chooses to highlight, paired with Parra’s textured, iconographic acrylic paintings, create a powerful story that demonstrates the way someone with a gift for writing can use it as a tool for fighting injustice."—The Horn Book

Parents' Choice Gold Award, Parents' Choice Foundation
Original Art Show Selection, NY Society of Illustrators
Florida Literacy Association, Children’s Book Award Winner 2021-22
Inclusive Story Time’s Best Biographies of 2020
ALSC's Rise 2021 Booklist
2021 Award of Excellence from Communication Arts Annual 62
2021 3x3 International Illustration Annual No.18
2021 Applied Arts Photography & Illustration Awards

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MEDIA: Common Core Curriculum Guide, NWHM, Apple Books, Goodreads