School Library Journal
The rural Alabama community of Gee's Bend is widely recognized for its unique quilts. Although the women have been quilting for over a century, their work was unknown until art historian William Arnett discovered it about 20 years ago. Stitchin' and Pullin' is the modern-day story of Baby Girl, who grows from a child playing beneath her elders' quilting frame to becoming a member of the intergenerational circle, piecing together her first quilt. McKissack's free-verse narrative shares the rich heritage of the Gee's Bend artisans as Baby Girl selects the fabrics that have significance to her and her family and finds the "heart" of her quilt. She speaks about the meaning of colors and patterns and what they bring to a quilt. The story is full of love and spirit. Cabrera's acrylic paintings depict the richness of tradition and strength of character as connections are made between fabric and history. Readers will enjoy the slow cadence of verse as they pause to consider history through the eyes of the people who lived it and the legacy that is passed on to the next generation.-Lisa Glasscock, Columbine Public Library, Littleton, CO
McKissack's series of poems tells the story of and honors the history of the women quilters of Gee's Bend, Ala. For years, these emancipated former slaves existed out of the mainstream before being "discovered" and celebrated for preserving a unique way of life. The women's quilts pay tribute to their lives' major events, such as registering to vote and marching with Martin Luther King Jr., and the process of quilting serves as a critical way to pass on to their children songs and family stories, and, of course, how to quilt. Baby Girl is at the center of the book, growing from a little one who plays on a quilt under the ladies' quilting frame to a girl who pieces together her own story and learns how to quilt it. Cabrera's vibrant paintings incorporate collage elements in both somber and vibrant colors that reflect struggles for freedom along with the collaborative warmth of quilting parties. An outstanding way to introduce aspects of African-American history and explore the power of community. (Picture book/poetry. 6-12)
From the Publisher
Starred Review, Kirkus Reviews, September 15, 2008:
"An outstanding way to introduce aspects of African-American history and explore the power of community."