Friday, April 5, 2019

Sweet Dreams, Sarah

Sweet Dreams, Sarah
by Vivian Kirkfield; illus by Chris Ewald
32 pages; ages 7-11
Creston Books, 2019

themes: nonfiction, women in history, inventor

Before the Civil War, Sarah obeyed her owner. 
Hurry up. 
     Eyes down. 
          Don’t speak.

But Sarah dreamed of a different life: a family and work she loved. When the war ended, she moved north with “hope in her heart, and dreams swirling in her head.” She married and helped run the family furniture store. And dreamed of creating something new: a bed that folded up when it wasn’t being used.

What I like about this book: I like how Vivian Kirkfield shows us Sarah’s perseverance:  when things don’t work the way she wants them to, she tweaks her design and rebuilds. She applies for a patent. Gets rejected. Tries again. What a great example of the drive and commitment it takes to create something new.

I like that Sarah builds more than a bed that folds into a desk. She builds a life of freedom, where she can realize her dreams.

I like the back matter: an author’s note about Sarah Goode and what a patent is. There’s also a timeline so we can put her life and invention into broader historical context. And… ta-da! There’s a timeline of black women patent holders from Sarah Goode (1883) to Janet Bashen (2006, web-based software program).

Beyond the book:

Meet some other black women inventors - click here.

Invent something! Have you ever thought, "gee, someone should make a _____________?" Inventors are the ones who say, “this would be better if....” Here's a video from Kid President about his inventions.

Can kids be inventors? You bet. Here's 10 inventions dreamed up by kids.

We're joining Perfect Picture Book Friday. It's a weekly event where bloggers share great picture books at Susanna Leonard Hill's website. Review copy provided by the publisher.


  1. Who cannot love this book, its subject matter, and the author who created it?! This one is on my reading pile.

  2. What a fascinating book!
    And I LOVE the link you shared: 10 Inventions Dreamed up by Kids.
    Thank you!

  3. I look forward to reading Sweet Dreams, Sarah! Love powerful women role models for kids.

  4. Thank you so much for the wonderful review, Sue! I'm so glad you found the book to be of value for young kids!

  5. Great review Sue. I'm biased, but I love this book.