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32pp, color

10in x 10in
Juvenile Nonfiction:  Biography

6 to 11
May 2019







Age Range:



Download Curriculum Guide

NCSS Notable Book

Eureka Honor Book

    "This story shows everyday hopes and triumphs for an African-American woman with big dreams following the Civil War. Students will love to read about the determination of this real life character and how she overcame the obstacles of the time in which she lived. She is celebrated as a woman, as an African-American and quite simply as a human being who held her own high expectations and met the challenges she set for herself."

    — Kathryn Mullen Reading & Writing Specialist, Cutler Elementary School, Swanzey, New Hampshire

    "Possibilities happen when the power of will, dreaming, and hard work come together. Told with a bit of heart, much like the heart enclosed in Sarah Goode’s envelope, this story will have you rooting for Sarah while teaching us all a little more about history."

    — Leah Henderson, author, One Shadow on the Wall


    "A beautiful, worthwhile story. This tender book lets us see through the eyes of an emancipated slave who worked hard to follow her dreams. All of the aspects of this story, including the process of invention and attaining a patent, come to vivid life."

    — Naomi Chamblin, Napa Bookmine

Sweet Dreams, Sarah

By Vivian Kirkfield

Illustrated by Chris Ewald

    Sarah Goode has big dreams. She wants her freedom, she wants a family, and she wants a successful business. Sarah fights for all of these and when she sees that the customers who come to her furniture store need to save space, she decides to invent her own kind of cupboard- bed. It takes persistence, but Sarah becomes one of the first African-American women to receive a patent, part of a long line of ingenious women working to make life better for their communities.

    "Readers meet a forward-thinking woman whose name ought to be widely known but isn't. Sarah E. Goode was born a slave, the daughter of a skilled free carpenter who "could build anything." Sarah acquired her father's woodcraft skills, and, after emancipation, she moved to Chicago, met and married African-American stair builder Archibald Goode, started a family, and realized her dream of owning her own furniture store. Working alongside Archibald, she fashioned a piece of furniture that would make efficient use of space for her customers whose big families were crammed into small living quarters. A desk by day, Sarah's cabinet bed unfolded into a bed at night. Her first attempt to secure a patent failed because others had already patented components of her design, but with some legal help and revisions to her application, she received the patent for her cabinet bed in 1885, becoming the first African-American woman to be granted a patent. The succinctness with which Kirkfield tells this story emphasizes Goode's drive to succeed despite obstacles. The illustrations, which have a smooth, digital patina, show her strength and resolve to build something that was both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The presence of her children also suggests that she passed her skills on to them. An author's note provides further historical context and explains a patent. Sarah Goode: a name well worth knowing and celebrating. (timeline) (Picture book/biography. 4-8)"

    — Kirkus Reviews

    "Sweet Dreams, Sarah captures the soul of what makes a dream a reality, encapsulating history and heart. With brilliant artwork and strong writing that bring to life post-Civil war history, this book is a beautiful balance of what makes a picture book biography stand out. Sarah Goode’s determination and persistence resonate throughout the pages, an inspiration for all readers."

    — Nadine Poper, Librarian, Amanda Stout Elementary, Reading PA

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