Speaking of activism as I did last week, Patsy Takemoto Mink should be a part of the definition of the word. I had never heard of her before Jen Bryant wrote this book but I should have. Her name should be as familiar to us as any great leader of this country.
Ms. Bryant tells Ms. Mink’s story in prose, punctuated by the Japanese saying “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.” The author covers a lifetime in a few lines on each of the 48 pages of this biography. She begins with Patsy Takemoto as a child born in Hawaii when it was a US territory, moving forward through grade school, the Depression, Pearl Harbor, World War II, and on to college in Nebraska. All the while, young Patsy sees situations and circumstances that need changing for the better and she steps up to the challenge.
It’s quite a feat to portray the future US Representative’s life in a step-by-step manner, recounting each setback and each way Patsy overcame the barriers she faced, all the while keeping the prose energetic and compelling. Several times I found myself gasping.
The illustrations help with this. Toshiki Nakamura works digitally in Photoshop, with experience in both illustration and animation. He understands movement, angles, focus, and how the reader will react emotionally to his color palette and placement of characters on the page.
Ultimately, readers will be grateful to Patsy Takemoto Mink for shepherding Title IX through the legislative branch of the US government. She fought hard to ensure that girls and women have equal access to sports, education, and jobs.
I counted. The phrase “Fall down seven times, stand up eight” is used exactly seven times in the book. Patsy Takemoto Mink inspires all of us to stand back up again, to work relentlessly for our beliefs.
Although I had never heard this phrase before, when my husband and I walked into the waiting room at Minnesota Oncology, those words were on the wall. I am grateful to Jen Bryant and Toshiki Nakamura for educating me about the strength behind this saying.
You’ll want this book for your library, classroom, and home. Let’s all contribute to remembering Patsy Takemoto Mink.