Sewing Stories by Barbara Herkert Book Review

Sewing Stories: Harriet Powers' Journey from Slave to Artist by Barbara Herkert
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Release Date: October 13, 2015

Born in 1837, Harriet Powers was born a slave. She grew up to be a revered folk artist.

For some, art recognition doesn't come until someone is older though. Or dead. In 1886, Harriet exhibited her quilts for the first time at a cotton far in Georgia. A woman from the Lucy Cobb Institute (a local girl's school), saw Harriet's beautiful quilt and asked to purchase but Harriet wouldn't be parted with it. The two women did stay in touch though and when Harriet fell on hard time, she ended up selling it to the woman for $5. Harriet explained how she used local legends, bible stories, and astronomical events to tell stories on her quilts. Today, only two of her quilts exist.

This wonderful picture book biography captures the story of Harriet in a way that is easily accessible to young readers. Using historical information and letters from Harriet Powers herself, we learn of her childhood, life as a slave, and how she learned to read and write. Another great picture book biography that lends itself well to the classroom.