An awe-inspiring African American woman! A talented seamstress, born a slave, bought freedom for herself and her son.
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley was born in 1818, enslaved to a Virginian plantation owner. As a teenager, Lizzy was sent to work as the only slave on a small plantation, where the work was endless, and the masters treated her with unspeakable cruelty. A new master, learning Lizzy could sew, sent her to work for a tailor, who paid the master, not Lizzy, for Lizzy's work.
The beautiful gowns that Lizzy created were displayed in the tailor's window and soon attracted the attention of the wealthiest women in Virginia. Among them was Mrs. Jefferson Davis who also introduced Lizzy to Mary Todd Lincoln. Though Lizzy first had to borrow money from her wealthy patrons to buy her freedom, once she was free, she was able to earn money of her own and pay them all back.
Connie Morrison writes with straightforward honesty and clarity. This inspiring story about an unsung hero is beautifully illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon with mixed media including oil paint, paper, fabric, ribbon, embroidery, lace, and appliqué.
A CBC/NCSS Notable Social Studies Trade Book
A Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection
About the Author
Connie Schofield-Morrison is a mother, author, and entrepreneur. She and her high school sweetheart Frank D. Morrison run an art gallery called Morrison Graphics in Atlanta, GA that Connie manages while also taking care of her children and writing books in her spare time. Stitch by Stitch is her first book with Holiday House.
Elizabeth Zunon is an illustrator of over ten picture books, including Stitch by Stitch, which is her first book with Holiday House. She attended the Rhode Island School of Design and graduated with a B.F. A. in Illustration. Drawing and painting have always been important to Elizabeth, whose love for the craft was fueled by the bright, vibrant colors of everyday West African fabrics and tropical vegetation.
★ "Quotes from Lizzy’s autobiography are scattered throughout the narrative, and are given a powerful presence on the page through the skillful use of text and font styles. Repetitive phrasing highlights the connection of her livelihood to her freedom. . . The illustrations are a remarkable collage of painted scenes that are combined with decorative paper, fabric, lace, ribbon, braid trim, and intricate embroidery. This creates a three-dimensional presentation that brings to life the creativity and craftsmanship of Lizzy’s dresses. . . An essential purchase that will strengthen all biography collections."—School Library Journal, Starred Review
★ "Schofield-Morrison fashions a poignant tribute. . . . Elizabeth Zunon’s breathtaking and masterful mixed-media illustrations—incorporating oil, paint, fabric, ribbon, paper, embroidery, and appliqué—beautifully capture the artistry of Keckly’s dresses. A dazzling picture book cut through with the thread and thrum of an inspiring but unsung life."—Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review
"This picture book biography centers the Black seamstress's indomitable spirit. . . . Schofield-Morrison offers accessible, starkly rendered prose. . . . Zunon embroiders Keckly's oft-difficult life story across lush, multilayered mixed-media spreads, featuring a beguiling tapestry of oil paint, paper, fabric, ribbon, embroidery, lace, and appliqué. . . ."—Publishers Weekly
"A handsome introduction to a remarkable woman and her craft."—The Horn Book
"In this picture book, the use of italics indicates quotes from Keckly’s memoir and differentiates them from Schofield-Morrison’s words. The interplay works well, offering Keckly’s viewpoint within an account that speaks to children today. Created with mixed media, including oil paint, paper, textured fabric, ribbon, appliqué, embroidery, and lace, Zunon’s handsome illustrations suggest the subject's times as well as her talents. A fitting introduction to a remarkable woman."—Booklist
"Every once in a while a book is published that is a game changer. This gorgeous book about the story of how Elizabeth Hobbs Keckly sewed her way to freedom is such a book. . . . The content is historical, inspiring, and presents each page as though it was a work of art. The illustrations are truly stunning. . . . Highly recommended for every library."—School Library Connection