Review: Sewing Stories Tells Of A Quilting Extraordinaire

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I read books with strong girl characters all the time, but during March I challenge myself to learn more about some of the interesting women who have left their mark on the world.

Someone I recently learned of is Harriet Powers, a Black woman who also was a quilt maker. Rather than traditional quilts, hers used images to weave interesting tales. The picture book, HARRIET POWERS’ Journey from Slave to Artist: Sewing Stories, by Barbara Herbert, introduces readers to an extraordinary woman.

Harriet Powers was born into slavery in 1837, and as a young girl she learned to sew with other enslaved women. Watching them, she’d think, “Someday I’m gonna sew a magic world.”

Her dream came true after slavery was abolished and now-grown Harriet had to find a way to feed her family. So, she put her love of quilting into a career. The quilts she made weren’t just patterns or shapes, though. Through every stitch and every loop, Harriet told a story. Stories of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and of Christ being laid on the cross. She never made much money with the quilts, but being a Black person with a bright mind with fresh ideas was a shocker to many, especially during the 1800s.

I enjoyed this book because of the illustrations, which were made by Vanessa Brantley-Newton, an amazing artist who happens to be the first illustrator I interviewed. Many reviews of books she’s illustrated are up on my blog as well. Her illustrations are gorgeous, especially in this book. In many pages I felt Harriet’s artistic, happy vibes.

This is a great picture book for kids just learning how to read on their own. In many of the picture books I read, I wish I was five years old again, turning the pages in awe instead of reading it critically with a larger knowledge like I do now.

I loved this book! Four out of four roses.

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