She’s On the Money by Andrea Hall, illustrated by Li Zhang

She’s On the Money by Andrea Hall, illustrated by Li Zhang. Albert Whitman, 2021. 9780807573426

Rating:  1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 3

Format: Uncorrected proof

What did you like about the book?   She’s On the Money is a thoroughly researched compilation about women whose likenesses have graced paper money and coins throughout history and around the world.  Well-known world leaders such as Cleopatra, Eva Peron, and Indira Gandhi, as well as activists, artists, and writers, are each featured on two-page spreads.  Each spread includes a brief biography, an artist’s rendition of the currency (front and back) with captions explaining what is depicted, as well as close-up illustrations of some of the symbols on the money, and drawings of important artifacts from the women’s lives. 

Young readers who know their money might be surprised by the omission of Susan B. Anthony (although the Sacagawea dollar and Helen Keller on the Alabama quarter are included) and Queen Elizabeth II, but will likely enjoy learning about women like Catherine Flon, who sewed the first Haitian flag, and German entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian.  The layout is attractive and makes the book as easy for browsing as for close reading.   

Anything you did not like about the book?  A table of contents and an index would both be valuable, and while the illustrations are attractive, I think young readers would prefer photographs of the money.

 To whom would you recommend this book? Budding numismatists might find this interesting, as well as those young readers who enjoy collective biographies along the lines of the She Persisted series.  Individual entries might be of use for students working on biography projects about specific subjects from the book (hence the need for an index).

Who should buy this book? Public and elementary school libraries

Where would you shelve it?  Nonfiction, 332

 Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? No

 Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City:  Leigh Russell King, Lincoln Street School, Northborough, Massachusetts.

Date of review: July 28, 2021

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