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Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker
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Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker (Candlewick Biographies)

4.26  ·  Rating Details ·  199 Ratings  ·  38 Reviews
A vision of dignity and freedom and a powerful role model for girls and women of all races

"This impressive picture book will delight young readers as it gives a sense of this remarkable woman and the times in which she lived." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL (starred review)

"Lasky's engaging account moves smoothly through events in Walker's life. . . . The illustrations . . . are
Paperback, 48 pages
Published January 1st 2003 by Candlewick Press (first published 2000)
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Becca Buckman
Nov 16, 2011 Becca Buckman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker is a junior biography book written by Kathryn Lasky with illustrations by Nneka Bennett. Sarah became the first “free-born child” in her hometown after slavery ended in 1865. Orphaned at the tender age of seven, trying to create a life in the south for herself and her two siblings proved extremely difficult for Sarah. Threatened by the immense racial tension plaguing the south, Sarah found a way to push through the criticism to find her sense ...more
Esther Barajikian
"Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker" is an award-winning (Parent's Choice Award) picture book biography intended for primary readers. It tells the story of Sarah, who was born soon after the end of slavery in America and her struggle to become a dignified and successful woman. I gave the book a 3-star rating due to its effective presentation of Sarah's story. It takes the reader through a range of emotions from the fear and disgrace of her early days to the pride and joy that ...more
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I didn't know a thing about Sarah Breedlove Walker until I read this book. What an amazing woman! I never learned about people like this when I was in school back in the '60s. It's inspiring to read about what you can do if you're smart and really determined. Highly recommended!
Nov 28, 2016 Lydia rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The life of an impressive woman, telling how she started and grew to be wealthy and influential.

I don't know that I'd ever heard of Madame Walker before, but she was quite a fireball! The story tells of her harsh growing up years through to her death and includes where she got her ideas for her cosmetic business and drive for social reform. Though the artwork is good and the source material interesting, the story felt very disjointed. I know Ms. Lasky said she had to fill in some gaps, but some

Jo Oehrlein
Jan 15, 2017 Jo Oehrlein rated it liked it
A true rags-to-riches story of America. She came from nothing and created a huge company that employed many people and catered to a clientele that was ignored. She did this all as a black woman at a time when even one of those (black or woman) was a huge disadvantage.

Strangely, I never realized that the "C.J." in Madam C. J. Walker came from her husband's name. People so rarely do that these days that I had forgotten that it was the norm.
Jan 08, 2017 Jessie rated it really liked it
This told the story of Madam Walker from childhood on. I liked that the attention to hair didn't seem random; hair and hairstyles were first mentioned in the childhood sections.

There was a lot of focus on Madam Walker's work to empower other Black women and her communities.
Margo Tanenbaum

Candlewick Press has recently reissued in paperback Kathryn Lasky's biography of Sarah Breedlove Walker, originally published in 2000. In a brief 48 pages, Lasky chronicles the life of this remarkable woman, born into poverty to former slaves, who became a highly successful entrepreneur and philanthropist. Orphaned at the age of seven, Sarah had a difficult childhood, and married at the age of 14 to escape living with her sister and her cruel husband. She eventually moved to St. Louis where she
Oct 03, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it
I thought that overall,this book was a very good book. I really liked the illustrations. I would recommend this book to 3rd or 4th graders.

Children's Literature
This longer-than-usual, picture book tells the inspiring story Madame Walker, best known for founding a turn-of-the-century company that bolstered the beauty of African-American women. Lasky does an incredible job of getting to the emotional and character qualities of this amazing woman who did much more than change hair. Walker was the f
Gabrielle Blockton
Date: September 9th, 2014

Author: Kathryn Lasky; Illustrations by Nneka Bennett

Title: Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker

Plot: This is the story of Madame C.J. Walker, formerly known as Sarah Breedlove Walker, a strong African-American figure in the Indianapolis community. She grew up to be one of the richest African Americans in her time as well as the richest woman in the world, during a time when being black and a woman meant struggle and hardships.

Setting: Various locations
Kristina Charnecki
Dec 08, 2011 Kristina Charnecki rated it really liked it
Genre: Biography Junior Book

In this book, readers learn about Sarah Breedlove Walker, an African American orphan born after the abolishment of slavery. She followed her dreams to become one of the most successful African American entrepreneurs.

a.) A major strength of this book is the illustrations.
b.) When reading biographies and autobiographies, visuals help make the story and history come alive. Although this book may not have real photographs, the illustrations done by Nneka Bennett are very
Leanna Little
Jun 21, 2015 Leanna Little rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the most well-presented biographies for young readers I have ever encountered. Author Lasky's introductory note explains that her personal interest in Madam Walker began at a young age in Indianapolis. I myself had heard of Madam Walker as a successful black entrepreneur in the cosmetics business, and I have many times driven past the beautiful Walker Building in downtown Indianapolis. Lasky tells Madame Walker's story sensitively but honestly. She explains the injustice of sharecropping, ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Claudia rated it it was amazing
I was raised in Indiana, and spent time in southern Indiana, and yet, I never heard of Madame Walker. I feel ashamed. She was a visionary, an entrepreneur, a philanthropist, and a leader. Born a free child right after the Civil War, she lost her parents early...but from the very beginning she showed a willingness to work hard, to learn, and to go places other women -- and women of color -- dared not go.

This picture-book biography is beautiful and informative. Sarah Walker invented hair products
May 09, 2013 VeNicia rated it liked it
I love biographies. I love simple biographies that get kiddos interested in people, history, cultures, philanthropy, get them thinking about their interests and desires for their lives, and hopefully get them thinking about how their life will contribute to a better world. This book is not my favorite writing, and the interest of the main character, "beauty" & hair, is not one I share; however, she used that interest to do good things for black women in a time that treated them so hideously. ...more
The Reading Countess
If you are looking for a biographical book that teaches some key components of the genre we teachers like to point out along the way, look no further than Vision of Beauty. If you're looking for a book that teaches young girls (and to some extent, guys)to believe in themselves, to never let go of a dream no matter what, to not worry about what is reflected in the mirror...then look no further. The illustrations added a richness to the time period, which will undoubtedly support a young reader un ...more
Dan Rogers
Dec 23, 2010 Dan Rogers rated it really liked it
A truly enjoyable picture book about an amazing woman. The story was well written, giving the reader (and listener) just enough insight to truly appreciate all that she endured to become a successful African American business woman in the early 20th century. Additionally, the illustrations truly enhance one's appreciation for and understanding of the story. Well worth the time spent.
Melissa Mcavoy
I loved this book. It may only truely be 4 1/2 stars, but what a great character and business woman and inspiration. This is a long story, but it does justice to the complexity of Sarah Breedlove Walker's life. We need more biographies of the many inspirational and unsung African American female pioneers, this starts the ball rolling.
This would be an excellent story to read during a study on biographies or to have in the classroom library during a unit on choosing careers or discussing business. I would also read this book during a study of the antebellum period in American history since the beginning does a great job describing the issues which faced families after the civil war.
Sep 22, 2012 Miri rated it really liked it
Great story of a woman who did things she wasn't supposed to do, ignored restrictive traditions, and became incredibly successful while helping other women do the same thing. Sarah Breedlove Walker created her own hair-strengthening tonics and defied the conventions of advertising, which glorified white women's hair and told black women their hair was "bad."
A good telling of an African-American woman who was successful in spite of daunting odds. Born in Mississippi two years after the end of slavery, Sarah Breedlove formed a thriving business selling hair products for black consumers. In a time with limited opportunities for both blacks and women, her accomplishments were very impressive. Nice, realistic illustrations create a feel for the times.
Jan 26, 2010 Josie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a book about Sarah Breedlove Walker. She belived color people should have rights. She made her own hair product, too. She was a brave, confident women and this is a wonderful book. It is a picture book, so it is great for all ages.
Jul 24, 2016 Debbie rated it really liked it
Well-written and a very inspiring true story of a black woman who owned her own business and strived to help others become empowered and successful. This is a book that I will be reading to my 2nd and 4th graders.
Apr 10, 2012 Penelope rated it liked it
The pictures and idea of the story were great, but it was too long to read to my 4 and 5 years-old children. I learned much I didn't know about Sarah Breedlove Walker, but sadly, I know my children wouldn't have enjoyed this book unless I edited it.
Sandy Brehl
Another outstanding Lasky biography, depicting the social and personal history of a woman who achieved commercial success that was in her time comparable to Oprah's in modern times.
Fives OnTheFly
Nov 17, 2012 Fives OnTheFly rated it it was amazing
This is a very well written story of the life of Sarah Breedlove Walker. We were all blown away by the story of this amazing woman.
May 07, 2012 Kristen rated it really liked it
Madame Walker is a fantastic role model - she never gave up, and she gave back to her community. This is a gorgeously illustrated biography great for middle and upper elementary students.
Racheal rated it really liked it
Nov 22, 2016
Jesse Clayton
Jesse Clayton rated it it was amazing
Nov 08, 2015
Louise rated it it was amazing
Jun 04, 2015
Gabe rated it it was amazing
Aug 04, 2016
Gordon Eugene Jones
Gordon Eugene Jones rated it really liked it
Feb 22, 2016
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Kathryn Lasky is the American author of many critically acclaimed books, including several Dear America books, several Royal Diaries books, 1984 Newbery Honor winning Sugaring Time, The Night Journey, and the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series.
She was born June 24, 1944, and grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and is married to Christopher Knight, with whom she lives in Massachusetts.

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