Sweet Dreams, Sarah
Vivian Kirkfield, Author
Chris Ewald, Illustrator
Creston Books, Fiction,
Suitable for Ages: 4-8
Themes: Inventor, African-American woman, Patent, Sarah E. Goode, Cabinet bed, Post Civil War history
Opening: “Before the Civil War, Sarah obeyed her owner. / Hurry up. / Eyes down. / Don’t speak.”
Sarah E. Goode was one of the first African-American women to get a US patent. Working in her furniture store, she recognized a need for a multi-use bed and through hard work, ingenuity, and determination, invented her unique cupboard bed. She built more than a piece of furniture. She built a life far away from slavery, a life where her sweet dreams could come true.
Why I like this book:
Vivian Kirkfield has written a compelling story about a gutsy African-American woman and a true trailblazer who built and patented her cabinet bed in 1885 — before women had the right to vote.
Kirkfield’s well-researched story shows the hurdles black women had to overcome to own a store, become an inventor and obtain a patent. Make sure you check out the back matter which provides more detailed information for discussion about Sarah Goode, the time period in which she lived in Chicago, and other notable patent holders who were also African-American women.
Kirkfield’s lyrical text is beautiful and emotional. Her narrative showcase’s Sarah’s relentless determination to actualize her dreams and earn an important place in African-American history. Chris Ewalds’s rich illustrations add another layer of beauty to Sarah’s remarkable story.
Vivian Kirkfield: Writer For Children – Reader Forever. Even as a young child, I knew that books would always be an important part of my life. They were my window on the world.
When I grew up, I realized how important it is to step out of one’s comfort zone. Although I was afraid of heights, I went skydiving with my son and parasailing with my husband. Although I am a non-swimmer and afraid of the water, I walked under the ocean with a Jules Verne-like helmet on my head. Although I had never traveled internationally, last year I flew 24 hours to Singapore to speak at an SCBWI conference.
In my school visits, my parent/teacher workshops and with the books that I write, I hope to help every young child become a lover of books and reading…because books help kids soar!