Reviews of Priscilla and the Hollyhocks
"Priscilla and the Hollyhocks tells a story too often ignored or overlooked- a story of how the west was not won but captured. Reading about Priscilla's remarkable life makes all our hearts a bit warmer while filling our heads with a much-needed piece of American history"
– Nikki Giovanni, poet
"When Priscilla’s mother is sold to a new owner and the two are separated, the young slave girl finds solace in her mother’s hollyhock patch. As she grows older, the kind words of a white businessman, Basil Silkwood, instill in Priscilla a desire to attend school, but she is soon sold to a Cherokee family, and her life of servitude continues. As the family embarks on the grueling journey west, known as the 1838 “Trail of Tears,” she again meets the compassionate Silkwood, who purchases her freedom. Alter’s appealing acrylic illustrations, rendered in single- and double-page spreads and framed close-ups, elevate the emotion of the story and echo the flattened perspective and thick outlines of folk art. Based on real events, Broyles’ poetic and colloquial narrative, voiced by a grown Priscilla, ends with the girl sowing the seeds of her mother’s hollyhocks near her new home with the Silkwoods and an author’s note detailing the historical basis of the story."