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Children's Fiction Girls & Women

She Stitched the Stars

A Story of Ellen Harding Baker's Solar System Quilt

by (author) Jennifer Harris

illustrated by Louise Pigott

Albert Whitman & Company
Initial publish date
Oct 2021
Girls & Women, General, 19th Century
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2021
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 0 to 8
  • Grade: p to 3
  • Reading age: 4 to 8


At a time when girls and women were supposed to limit their worlds to home, one mother looked beyond—to space.

In 1876 Ellen Harding Baker began stitching an extraordinary quilt, one that accurately depicted our solar system. Ellen, a Iowa storekeeper's wife and a mother, had a curiosity that reached far beyond the stratosphere. Today the quilt hangs in the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. This lyrical story imagines the creation of the quilt from the perspective of Ellen’s daughters, who, like their mother, lived in a time when girls and women were expected to limit their pursuit of knowledge, and who may have been inspired to dream bigger and look farther.

About the authors

Jennifer Harris lives in Waterloo, Ontario with her husband and children, in a little storybook house. Despite the overloaded shelves, they all firmly believe there’s always room for one more book. When You Were New is Jennifer’s second picture book, after She Stitched the Stars: A Story of Ellen Harding Baker’s Solar System Quilt. She’s also a published poet and the author of numerous essays. When not writing or reading—or thinking about chocolate—Jennifer teaches English at the University of Waterloo. You can visit her at

Jennifer Harris' profile page

Louise Pigott creates vibrant, detailed, and atmospheric illustrations for children's books and greeting cards that have appeared around the world.

Louise Pigott's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"This lively portrayal of the girls and their mother sparkles with curiosity and joy; it's sure to inspire questions in young listeners as it embraces feminism, history, creativity, and science. An engaging inquiry into the lives of everyday girls who are limited by historical circumstance but yearn for more."—Kirkus Reviews

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