The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

5.0 1
by Bettye Stroud, Erin Susanne Bennett
     
 

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"An exciting story about a girl and her father who escape slavery. . . . Works well as a story and also as a lesson in African-American history." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Now that Hannah’s papa has decided to make the run for freedom, her patchwork quilt is not just a precious memento of Mama — it’s a series of hidden

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Overview

"An exciting story about a girl and her father who escape slavery. . . . Works well as a story and also as a lesson in African-American history." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Now that Hannah’s papa has decided to make the run for freedom, her patchwork quilt is not just a precious memento of Mama — it’s a series of hidden clues that will guide them along the Underground Railroad to Canada. A fictionalized account of a fascinating oral history, THE PATCHWORK PATH tells the story of a two of the thousands who escaped a life of slavery and made the dangerous journey to freedom — a story of courage, determination, and hope.

- A Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights Outstanding Book, Honorable Mention

- An Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Award Winner

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Stroud's (Down Home at Miss Dessa's) affecting story of Hannah, a slave on a Georgia plantation, is inspired by the actual use of quilts as a means of communication on the Underground Railroad. Hannah explains that when she was 10, as she and her mother stitched a quilt using pieces of cloth of various designs, Mama told her the "special meaning" of each pattern. After the girl's sister is sold off to another plantation, Mama passes away ("Papa said it was her heart that broke"). One stormy night, Hannah and her father steal away from the plantation and rely on the code hidden in the quilt to find their way to Canada. On their journey, the two hide beneath the floorboards in a church, follow a tunnel leading from there to a river, take refuge with a Quaker couple and, using signals incorporated in the quilt, meet up with a riverboat captain who transports them across Lake Erie to freedom. All the while, Hannah hugs the quilt and often thinks of her mother and sister. The child's candid first-person narrative captures her apprehension as well as her hope and determination. Newcomer Bennett contributes dramatic oil paintings in an earth-toned palette. Her almost geometric renderings can be off-putting in close-ups of the characters, but her style is ideally suited to the full-spread compositions and the quilt patterns themselves. Ages 5-8. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Ten-year-old Hannah learned the secret messages of her Mama's precious quilt. Though Mama passes away and her sister Mary has been sent to a far-off plantation, Hannah still has her precious quilt and the words her mother taught her that will help her find her way to Canada and freedom. Each pattern has its own shape and meaning, from monkey wrench to bear's paw to bowties and all the way to stars, and each shape points the way and gives inspiration to Hannah and her father when the time comes for them to flee. This fictionalized account of an oral history, illustrated with stylized oil paintings, tells the now-familiar story of the nighttime escape of slaves. The frequent visual and oral references to the quilt patterns seem somewhat contrived but act to hold the story together. Stroud and Bennett tread a similar path to the one walked by Clara in Deborah Hopkinson's landmark Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (1993). (afterword) (Picture book. 4-9)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780763635190
Publisher:
Candlewick Press
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
32
Sales rank:
485,744
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 11.30(h) x 0.17(d)
Age Range:
5 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Bettye Stroud is the author of several picture books that speak of her African American heritage, including DANCE Y'ALL, THE LEAVING, and DOWN HOME AT MISS DESSA'S. Of THE PATCHWORK PATH, she says, "I want my writing to be inspirational to children as they face the 'demons' I write about. I hope my readers see themselves and know they are not alone in facing disappointments. I want them to know all is never lost; there is always hope."

Erin Susanne Bennett is a recent graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design. Of THE PATCHWORK PATH, her first book, she says, "Growing up in Rochester, New York, had a tremendous impact on my awareness of the Underground Railroad. Illustrating THE PATCHWORK PATH has only deepened my appreciation for the immense strength, courage, and sacrifice embodied by African American slaves and those who fought with them for equality."

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