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Stone Mirrors : The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis
by Jeannine Atkins


Overview - From critically acclaimed author Jeannine Atkins comes a gorgeous, haunting biographical novel in verse about a half Native American, half African American sculptor working in the years following the Civil War.

A sculptor of historical figures starts with givens but creates her own vision.  Read more...


 
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More About Stone Mirrors by Jeannine Atkins
 
 
 
Overview
From critically acclaimed author Jeannine Atkins comes a gorgeous, haunting biographical novel in verse about a half Native American, half African American sculptor working in the years following the Civil War.

A sculptor of historical figures starts with givens but creates her own vision. Edmonia Lewis was just such a sculptor, but she never spoke or wrote much about her past, and the stories that have come down through time are often vague or contradictory. Some facts are known: Edmonia was the daughter of an Ojibwe woman and an African-Haitian man. She had the rare opportunity to study art at Oberlin, one of the first schools to admit women and people of color, but lost her place after being accused of poisoning and theft, despite being acquitted of both. She moved to Boston and eventually Italy, where she became a successful sculptor.

But the historical record is very thin. The open questions about Edmonia's life seem ideally suited to verse, a form that is comfortable with mysteries. Inspired by both the facts and the gaps in history, author Jeannine Atkins imagines her way into a vision of what might have been.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781481459051
  • ISBN-10: 1481459058
  • Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
  • Publish Date: January 2017
  • Page Count: 176
  • Reading Level: Ages 13-17
  • Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.6 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Young Adult Fiction > Novels in Verse
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Diversity & Multicultural
Books > Young Adult Fiction > Biographical

 
BookPage Reviews

A masterful sculptor's story of tenacity

Through 80 chronological vignettes divided into five dated segments, all set to a lilting prose, Jeannine Atkins brings to life the poignant story of a half Native American, half African-American artist’s persistent journey to greatness. While Edmonia Lewis is best known as a neoclassical sculptor as well as for her affiliation with Oberlin College, details of her life remain a mystery. Regardless of the lack of data, Atkins offers a believable fictionalized biography in Stone Mirrors: The Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis

In 1862, while attending the recently racially integrated Oberlin College, Edmonia is falsely accused of poisoning two of her classmates. Days later, she is viciously raped and beaten. Although acquitted of the poisoning charges, Edmonia is accused of stealing art supplies, and her one-year stay at the historic college is terminated and she is sent to Boston. While working as a housekeeper, Edmonia is given the opportunity to learn sculpture. During the next two years, Edmonia hones her craft and travels to Rome, the “City of Marble.” Over the course of 10 years, Edmonia creates a grand piece she titles “The Death of Cleopatra,” which she presents at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

Combining imagination and the power of words, Atkins’ powerful narrative aptly highlights the harsh indifference and discrimination that Edmonia faces as she forges ahead to fulfill her dreams. Stone Mirrors provides a window into the achievements of a tenacious woman of color in a white man’s world.

 

This article was originally published in the January 2017 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
BAM Customer Reviews