Book cover of Shaped By Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez

Shaped By Her Hands: Potter Maria Martinez



Publisher & Publication Year

Albert Whitman, 2021

Publisher's Book Page


Anna Harber Freeman (Osage Nation) and Barbara Gonzales (San Ildefonso Pueblo)

Author's Website 


Aphelandra (Oneida/Filipino)



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 book tells the story of how Maria, through her love of clay, brought success and joy from her New Mexico Pueblo to people all across the country.

Notable Achievements

Chicago Public Library Best Informational Books for Younger Readers 2021; A Junior Library Guild Selection April 2021; Kirkus Best Picture-Book Biographies of 2021; Great Reads from Great Places 2022: New Mexico


Publishers Weekly: "The prose is accessibly authored by Gonzales, the eldest great-grandchild of the Martinezes, and Freeman, whose childhood was informed by her Osage grandmother's collection of art. Aphelandra adds vibrant, subtly textured spreads to this profile of an arts pioneer."

Kirkus Reviews: "A deserved celebration of a famous Tewa potter who elevated her craft to fine art."

School Library Journal: "Through masterful storytelling and graceful illustrations, this impactful title embodies Maria Povika Martinez's famous words: 'The Great Spirit gave me [hands] that work... but not for myself, for all Tewa people.'"

Educator Guide

This guide, created by Albert Whitman & Co., includes pre-reading preparation and discussion questions.

Link to Guide

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