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The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom Paperback – August 28, 2007


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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 1-4 - An exciting story about a girl and her father who escape slavery with help from the coded symbols on a quilt. Shortly after Hannah's sister is sold to another plantation, Mama dies, but not before teaching Hannah how to sew, whispering, "…this quilt will show you everything you need to know to run to freedom." Their journey leads them along the Underground Railroad, from their Georgia plantation to a hiding place beneath a church, through pirate tunnels, and eventually to the home of a Quaker family. Finally, they cross Lake Erie into Canada, and the narrative ends on a hopeful note as Hannah makes a new quilt with an empty square for her sister, praying that someday they'll be together again, and free. The first-person narrative flows smoothly and lends immediacy to the dramatic events. The vivid oil paintings are skillfully done, with the characters' expressive faces reflecting their fear and courage, and angular lines echoing the quilt squares. An afterword gives some historical background. Overall, this works well as a story and also as a lesson in African-American history. - Lauralyn Persson, Wilmette Public Library, IL
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

K-Gr. 3. A child tells of escaping to Canada on the Underground Railroad, accompanied by her father, and of following secret signs sewn into quilt patterns. The exciting escape story makes the history immediate, and the fascinating quilt-code messages will have children revisiting the page that shows each symbol and its secret directions. Bennett's bright oil paintings make dramatic use of collage to show the quilt code and the brave fugitives. Helped by Quakers and other rescuers, Hannah and Papa make it to the border, but the sadness of her sister still in slavery and her Mama's death is with them as they cross. A fascinating afterword reveals how much of the story was based on history. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 5 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Kindergarten - 3
  • Paperback: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Candlewick; Reprint edition (August 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0763635197
  • ISBN-13: 978-0763635190
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.2 x 11.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #44,214 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Gail Langer Karwoski on February 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This tale of a child who makes a quilt as a map for her escape along the Underground Railroad is an inspiring story with handsome, earth-toned illustrations. The characters' stylized faces reflect the book's storybook "climate." I am not going to present this story to students as a slice of realistic history about the harsh period of slavery (that stain on our country's history). Instead, I'll present this lovely story as an idealized portrait about the human spirit prevailing against darkness/suffering. The main character is a child - born a slave, torn from family - who creates a quilt to guide her to freedom. Her quilt is really a symbol of order and beauty. This is a story about human ingenuity using the resources at hand to prevail against weighty odds, to triumph.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Donny B. Seagraves on May 29, 2005
Format: Hardcover
This memorable book is based on a story of quilts and The Underground Railroad passed down orally from grandmother to mother to daughter. Instead of nonfiction, this book is a well-written fictional story about a young slave girl, Hannah, living on a Southern plantation. Bettye Stroud's sensitive prose, illustrated by Erin Susanne Bennett's bold, angular drawings, is an excellent way to introduce young children to a tragic time in US history; a time when children, as well as adults, were owned by others. Stroud uses her well-honed writing skills to bring this time back, and to show a little girl coping with the challenges and succeeding.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Edi on February 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Straightforward story with believable characters shows how slaves planned carefully to run to freedom in Canada, getting colder every step of the way. While the "code" may be somewhat fiction, it does show how staying on the northbound path, evading slave catchers and their dogs, and finally reaching the shores of freedom were real clues then memories kept in handcrafts like quilts. This is beautifully illustrated.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By J. Bailey on December 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have used another book similar to this one to teach about the Underground Railroad and influential Americans who helped people travel on the Underground Railroad in my 5th and 6th grade classrooms. Students create their own freedom quilt using four quilt blocks (all out of paper). I am really excited about this book because not only is it a good story to hook the kid's attention, but it describes the patterns and their meanings within the book itself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By jennpher04 on March 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a great book to use for a quilting workshop! SCAD Buzz Bus volunteers used this book as inspiration to celebrate Black History Month at a local school. We held a hands-on quilting workshop. The book provides samples for quilt blocks with symbols.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Larry Siegel on April 21, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Any children's books dealing with quilting, slavery and the Civil War are ones that I collect. Grandchildren love looking at them, and they learn considerable happenings from our American history.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. Little on April 9, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This story is such a powerful story of a young girl and her father escaping slavery on the Underground Railroad. Using a patchwork quilt as a map, the young girl is able to navigate her way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By April Muller on May 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am a soon to be teacher and was making a thematic unit for the Underground Railroad. This book is so great. OH and I"m a quilter. I love the pictures and the story!
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