Here are a few good read-aloud books that go well with sewing circles. They include "coming of age" books about working as a seamstress or doing needlepoint to earn a living, stitching because that was what young ladies of nobility did, or other themes. Here are a few examples from friends, family, and school librarians. Many are reviewed by School Library Journal:
- Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton, where a mother sewed (with love) a multicolored jacket for her little girl. Great book for any age, but too short.
- The Memory Coat (picture book) by Elvira Woodruff, a story about a young Russian immigrant and the tattered coat he refuses to part with because his ailing mother sewed it for him before succumbing. Joanne Ladewig ("Library Lady") has read that aloud (over two library visits) to third graders and they enjoyed it. Joanne says, "About a 20 minute read aloud. Very poignant."
- Catherine, Called Birdie by Karen Cushman. Catherine hated sitting inside sewing, when she really wanted to be outside... Age 12+
- Louisa May Alcott's lesser-known novels included young ladies in distressful situations who turned to creating (sewing) lovely little handbags, gloves, etc. to shore up their precarious financial situations. (also recommended by Joanne Ladewig, "Library Lady."
And a bunch more:
- Daughter of Madrugada by Frances M. Wood winner of the FOCAL award
Anne of Green Gables by Montgomery
Ballet Shoes by Streatfeild
Little Women by Alcott
The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi (because not all girls wanted to stay home and sew!) - all recommended by From Heidi Snively, Library Media Specialist.
- Homeless Bird. The main character in Homeless Bird, by Gloria Whelen, makes a living by her beautiful embroidery. It is set in India. (Recommended by Joan McCall, LMT.)
- Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books have all the girls and women sew, and in one of them, Laura gets a job as a seamstress. (Recommended by Jane Lofton, Libraria.)
- The Lacemaker and the Princess by Kimberley Bradley (is) historical fiction set during French Revolution in which young girl from working class family of lacemakers becomes the companion of Marie Antoinette's daughter. (Recommended by Kathy Shepler, Librarian.)
- Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park (is) Contemporary Realistic. It sets a young African American boy and a Korean American girl on a science fair project where they will raise silkworms and use the cocoons to make silk thread with which to embroider. As always with Linda Sue there is lots to chew on in this book. (Recommended by Kathy Shepler, Librarian.)