Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

A Picture Book of Harriet Beecher Stowe

A Picture Book of Harriet Beecher Stowe

David A. Adler
Illustrator:  Colin Bootman 
Nonfiction Picture Book
For ages 7 to 9
Holiday House, 2004   ISBN: 0823418782

Harriet Beecher was the daughter of a minister who lived and worked in Connecticut. Her father was a demanding man who was not easy to please, especially if one was a quiet and somewhat frail little girl. Harriet loved to read, and when she went to boarding school she learned that she enjoyed writing as well. It was while she was at school that she decided that she wanted use her talent for writing to make the world a better place. She wrote to her brother, “I do not mean to live in vain.”

After her father moved west to Cincinnati in Ohio, Harriet began to read about slavery and the treatment of slaves. Though Ohio was not a slave state, nearby Kentucky was, and Harriet saw slaves working in cotton fields. She saw how the overseers abused the slaves and she was deeply upset by what she saw.

In 1836, Harriet married Calvin Stowe, who encouraged her to write the articles and stories that mattered so much to her. Then, in 1852, Harriet’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published. No one imagined then that Harriet’s book would cause a huge commotion and that it would make her famous, but it did. In fact, the book would educate thousands of people about how cruel slavery was, and help to further divide the country into two camps: those who wanted slavery to continue, and those who thought that slavery should be abolished.

Harriet Beecher Stowe lived in a time when women had few rights or opportunities. Despite this, she was able – through the power of her words – to make a big difference in her world. This picture book tells Harriet Beecher Stowe’s story in such a way that it makes it accessible to younger readers.