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Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet
     

Etched in Clay: The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet

by Andrea Cheng
 

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Sometime before 1818, an enslaved young man named Dave was brought to Edgefield, in the
heart of South Carolina’s pottery-producing area. From the time he was first taught to turn a
potter’s wheel, Dave showed exceptional natural talent. Soon he was creating pieces of great
beauty and often massive size. He also learned to read and write,

Overview

Sometime before 1818, an enslaved young man named Dave was brought to Edgefield, in the
heart of South Carolina’s pottery-producing area. From the time he was first taught to turn a
potter’s wheel, Dave showed exceptional natural talent. Soon he was creating pieces of great
beauty and often massive size. He also learned to read and write, even though South Carolina
had laws prohibiting slave literacy. And then Dave did something even more daring: he began to
sign his jars and carve many of them with sayings and short poems that reflected his daily life
and experiences. With these courageous acts, Dave quietly protested the brutality of slavery and
asserted his humanity.

Here is an evocative portrait of Dave as memorable as one of his jars. Through simple yet
powerful poetry, including some of Dave’s inscriptions, we learn his extraordinary story of
perseverance, creative inspiration, and hope. Today Dave’s legacy lives on in the artistry of his
pottery, in his intriguing words, and as a reminder of the dignity and resilience of the human
spirit.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviewers - Children's Reviewer
"At once intimate and universal; the riveting story of an unforgettable life lived during an unbelievable time." -starred review
School Library Journal - Renee Steinberg
"Cheng has created a passionate homage to the human spirit, which speaks volumes in this brief book. Her woodcuts add another layer to the drama that unfolds in the telling. A powerful and uplifting biography." -starred review
Horn Book Magazine - Dean Schneider
"Through alternating perspectives (Dave; partners in the pottery business; the slave master; a woman who may have been Dave’s wife; children he’s teaching) and in spare free verse, Cheng sets the stage for Dave’s personal stand against injustice. . . . Silhouette-like woodcuts enhance the presentation. A selection of Dave’s writings is appended, and source notes are included."
Washington Post - Mary Quattlebaum
"Through her haunting, honed verse, Cheng has given readers a valuable thing indeed: the life of a quiet rebel."

Product Details

BN ID:
2940148822264
Publisher:
Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
07/22/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
160
File size:
8 MB
Age Range:
9 - 12 Years

Meet the Author

ANDREA CHENG is the author of several critically-acclaimed books for young readers. Her
works range from picture books to young adult novels, and her stories often draw on the
experiences of her Hungarian relatives or her husband’s Chinese family. For this book,
however, Cheng was inspired by Dave’s heroism, courage, and creative struggle. When not
writing books, Cheng teaches English as a Second Language at Cincinnati State Technical and
Community College. Cheng and her husband have three grown children. She lives in
Cincinnati, Ohio.

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