Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage

In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage

Alan Schroeder
Illustrator:  JaeMe Bereal 
Picture Book
For ages 6 to 8
Lee and Low Books, 2009   ISBN: 978-1600603327

Augusta Savage was born in Green Cove Springs, in Florida. She lived there for much of her childhood with her many siblings, her mother, and her father, who was a preacher. Augusta loved to make little clay figures of animals, but her father disapproved and often he destroyed the little ducks, chickens, or pigs that she made. Thankfully, Augusta’s mother saw no harm in her daughter’s fondness for making things out of clay, and she did her best to encourage her husband to leave Augusta, and her clay creations, alone.

When August was fifteen, the family moved to another town, and other people found out about Augusta’s gift. The principal in her school was so impressed that he invited her to teach the other children in the school “to make little figures like you do.” Her father still did not support what she was doing, but he was happy to take the dollar that she was paid every day.

After winning a contest in the local county fair, Augusta decided that she should at least try to become a professional artist. Though the idea of leaving home frightened her, Augusta took her winnings from the contest and traveled to New York City where she hoped she would find an art school willing to take her on as a student.

This picture book tells the story of Augusta Savage with warmth and affection. Many people have never even heard of her because very few of her creations are still around, and it is wonderful that Alan Schroeder has given her voice in this book. Now young readers can appreciate what an exceptional and talented person she was.