Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Madame C.J. Walker Builds a Business by Denene Miller (Rebel Girls series)

 My daughter Penelope just turned ten last week.  Over this past week, we’ve been enjoying reading about Madame C.J. Walker in the evenings together.  Madame C.J. Walker, or Sarah Breedlove, was the first female self-made millionaire in the United States.  She came up with hair products for African American women, manufactured them, and taught women to sell her products door to door.  I had never heard of Madame C.J. Walker until I heard a podcast about her on History Chicks.  Netflix had a great series about her this year as well that my husband and I enjoyed.  It was fun to learn more about her with my daughter.

 Penelope and I enjoyed this book.  She in particular liked how Madame C.J. Walker made products for hair and had salons that styled hair.  She also liked the relationship between Madame C.J. Walker and her daughter.  This book made Penelope question what lynching was and prompted a good discussion.  Madame C.J. Walker’s first husband was lynched leaving her a young widow.  Later in life, she worked on a variety of philanthropic works to empower African American people including working towards ending lynching. I was sad to realize we still don’t have the anti-lynching law at the federal level that she worked towards. 

 This book has great pictures and an engaging story.  We loved it.  I also love learning about history that was not part of history class.

 Favorite quote:  "I came from the cotton fields of the South.  I was promoted from there to the washtub.  Then to the kitchen and from there I promoted myself into the manufacturing business.  I have built my own factory on my own ground.  I am not ashamed of my roots, and they don't make me any less of a lady.  I know how to grow hair as well as I know how to grow cotton." 

 Overall, Madam C.J. Walker is a great book for kids to learn about great diverse people in our history.

 Book Source:  Purchased from Amazon.com


  1. I like the description of herself. A strong lady.

  2. Laura, I am thrilled to see this book review on your blog! This seems like a great book for children and their parents to read and discuss together. I am currently obsessed with learning more about Madam C.J. Walker. If you stop by my blog, you'll understand why!

  3. This does sound like a fun read. Some of my favorite books are ones that I read with my mom. :)