The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom
The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom
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Annotation: While her father leads her toward Canada and away from the plantation where they have been slaves, a young girl thinks of the quilt her mother used to teach her a code that will help guide them to freedom.
Catalog Number: #230232
Format: Perma-Bound Edition
All Formats: Search
Special Formats: Inventory Sale Inventory Sale
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Copyright Date: 2005
Edition Date: 2007
Illustrator: Bennett, Erin Susanne,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available (Limited Quantities Available / While Supplies Last)
ISBN: Publisher: 0-7636-3519-7 Perma-Bound: 0-605-35488-X
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-0-7636-3519-0 Perma-Bound: 978-0-605-35488-3
Dewey: E
LCCN: 2004045786
Dimensions: 29 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
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.
Horn Book
A young girl and her father combine the code embedded in a patchwork quilt pattern with several clues on their journey to guide them to freedom. The well-written first-person narrative and somber oil illustrations sensitively portray the dangerous trip. The code is illustrated and explained within the text; the afterword provides background information that adds authenticity to the story.
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)
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.)

School Library Journal
Gr 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 2004 Reed Business Information.
Word Count: 1,542
Reading Level: 3.7
Interest Level: 1-4
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 3.7 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 85295 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:3.7 / points:3.0 / quiz:Q38502
Lexile: 680L
Guided Reading Level: R
Fountas & Pinnell: R

The images stitched into Hannah's quilt lead to secret signposts on the Underground Railroad as she and her father take flight from slavery on a perilous path to freedom.

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


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