A Perfect Fit: How Lena “Lane” Bryant Changed the Shape of Fashion by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal

Published by Clarion Books

Summary:  Raised by her grandparents in Lithuania, Lena Himmelstein learned sewing from her grandmother and from her grandfather, the definition of real success: helping another person.  When she was 16, Lena followed her older sister to America, where she got a job as a seamstress.  She studied English and fashion and married a man named David Bryant, who died shortly after the birth of their son.  To support the family, Lena bought a sewing machine and started her own business.  When a pregnant woman asked for a gown that would grow with her, Lena remembered her grandfather’s advice and found a way to help her customer.  Her reputation grew, and soon she opened her own shop and a bank account.  At the bank, she accidentally signed her name as “Lane” instead of Lena.  Lane Bryant became famous for clothes made to help women of all sizes and shapes.  “Everyone said Lena was a great success.  And when she thought about her grandfather, she knew that it was true.”  Includes an author’s note and a list of sources.  32 pages; grades K-4.

Pros:  Mara Rockliff’s engaging writing and Juana Martinez-Neal’s fashionable illustrations bring Lena Himmelstein Bryant’s story to life, with a heartwarming emphasis on how helping others is the true definition of success.

Cons:  Too bad this wasn’t released in time for Women’s History Month.

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