Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Madam C.J. Walker: Entrepreneur and Millionaire

Madam C.J. Walker: Entrepreneur and Millionaire

Darlene R. Stille
Nonfiction  Series
For ages 10 and up
Compass Point Books, 2007   ISBN: 978-0756518837

Sarah Breedlove was born in the south into a family of sharecroppers. From a very early age she helped in the garden and picked cotton. Hers was a hard life, and it only got worse when her parents died. Sarah and her siblings did their best to make a living off the land but, in the end, they had to give up. They packed up what little they owned and moved to Vicksburg, Mississippi, where Sarah earned money by washing clothes for other people. She continued to do this for many years, supporting first herself, and then helping to support her family when she got married and had a baby girl.

After the death of her husband Sarah decided to leave Vicksburg and build a new life for herself and her daughter in St. Louis. Once again she washed clothes, and perhaps she would have continued to do this all her life. But, instead, her life took a dramatic turn. Because of the lack of washing facilities and poor working conditions Sarah developed problems with her hair. She sought help from a hair care professional and ended up getting into the hair care business herself, selling hair products door-to-door. This was just the beginning of what would be an illustrious and meaningful career.

In this well written and highly informative Signature Lives title the author shows her readers what it was like to be an African American woman who had to fend for herself in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Readers are not only will find out about an incredible leader in the African-American community, but they will also get a very clear picture of what Madam C.J. Walker's life was like.