For my September 2023 giveaway, I’m offering four signed copies of my picture book biography What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? The Story of Extraordinary Congresswoman Barbara Jordan, illustrated by Ekua Holmes and published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster.

Why this book this month? For more reasons than I’ve counted until this very moment. Let’s add them up!

  1. This book was published five years ago this month, and everyone loves an anniversary ending in 0 or 5, right?
  2. Constitution Day is September 17, and no tribute to Barbara Jordan is complete without quoting her nationally televised remarks as a member of the U.S. House judiciary committee while weighing the impeachment of President Nixon in summer 1974 (start making your 50th anniversary plans now!): “My faith in the Constitution is whole, it is complete, it is total. And I am not going to sit here and be an idle spectator to the diminution, the subversion, the destruction of the Constitution.”
  3. Before she was a member of the U.S. Congress, she was a member of the Texas Senate, and the illustrations in What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? show her at work in the same chamber where big doings are occurring this month: the impeachment of the state’s attorney general amid an ethics scandal.
  4. Speaking of ethics, after leaving elected office, Barbara Jordan taught courses in public policy and ethics in government, so I can only imagine what she would have thought of the charges being aired during this impeachment trial and in ongoing high-profile criminal cases involving political figures.
  5. That’s right — Barbara Jordan was a teacher! Here’s to a great start to the 2023-24 school year for all the educators out there.
  6. Before she was a teacher, before she was a Congresswoman, before she was a member of the Texas Legislature, Barbara Jordan was a student in Houston. In the Houston Independent School District, to be specific. And, to be precise, at Phillis Wheatley High School, the school whose performance was at the center of the State of Texas’ recent decision to take over the entire district, which in turn has led to many of Houston ISD’s libraries being turned into discipline centers. All of which is to say that I’m thinking of the students and teachers there in Houston.
  7. But in another matter, a celebration is in store: Texas’ book-banning House Bill 900 — which I testified against before a Texas Senate committee this past May, with a copy of What Do You Do with a Voice Like That? in hand — has been at least temporarily blocked by a federal judge. I’m so proud of the librarians, booksellers, authors, and others who, in opposing this violation of free speech, have made their voices heard.

I’ll stop there, though — as you might be able to guess — I could go on…

Anyway, subscribers to my monthly Bartography Express newsletter (folks can sign up here) are eligible for one of those four giveaway copies of What Do You Do with a Voice Like That?

If you’re a Bartography Express subscriber with a U.S. mailing address and you’d like to be one of the four winners of my signed and personalized biography of the great Barbara Jordan, by the end of September 2023 either say so in the comments below or email me directly, and you’ll officially be in the running.

In the meantime, make sure you put your own voice to good use!