Shaped By Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez By Anna  Harber Freeman & Barbara Gonzales Illustrated By Aphelandra

Back of Book:

The most renowned Native American Indian potter of her time, Maria Povika Martinez learned pottery as a child under the guiding hands of her ko-ōo, her aunt. She grew up to discover a new firing technique that turned her pots black and shiny and made them―and Maria―famous. This inspiring story of family and creativity illuminates how Maria’s belief in sharing her love of clay brought success and joy from her New Mexico Pueblo to people all across the country.

My Review:

I received a copy of this picture book from Albert Whitman Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

Shaped By Her Hand Potter Maria Martinez by Anna Harber Freeman & Barbara Gonzales is an inspirational look at the life, ad work of Maria Povika. 

Maria Povika grew up in New Mexico surrounded by clay. She was a part of the Tewa people who were known for making strong clay pots. while her sisters played with their dolls, Maria worked with her Aunt Nicolasa learning the secrets and traditions of perfecting clay pots. Maria grew up, got married, and had children of her own but her love of creating pottery never disappeared. 

 In 1908 an archaeologist named Edgar Lee Hewett came to see Maria. He asked her if she could create a pot based on an ancient shard of black pottery. After several experiments, Maria and her husband Julian created a pot that was shiny and black as a raven. Mr. Hewett was amazed at the pottery, and quickly put them in shops where they sold right away. 

In the years that followed, Maria and Julian sold their pots and did demonstration classes all over the United States. Through their teaching, many people learned about the Tewa people, and the beautiful pottery they have made. 

Barbara Gonzales is the eldest great-grandchild of Maria and Julian Martinez. Her memories are woven throughout the pages, and truly bring Maria to life. The illustrations by Aphelandra capture the beauty of the New Mexican desert, as well as the pot-making traditions. The back of the book includes more information about Maria and Julian Martinez as well as notes from the authors about why they wrote the book. Shaped By Her Hand Potter Maria Martinez is a wonderful nonfiction narrative that shouldn’t be missed. 

Ages 5 and up

32 Pages  

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