The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

Author Stroud, Bettye
Language English
Candlewick Press $7.99., 2007


Hannah and her father flee north to Canada on the Underground Railroad to escape the plantation where they had been slaves, and she carries a quilt that her mother had sewn which features coded markings to help guide them to freedom.

Subjects :

  • Underground Railroad Fiction
  • Slavery Fiction
  • Fugitive Slaves Fiction
  • African Americans Fiction
  • Quilts Fiction

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Best Books :

  • Children's Catalog, Eighteenth Edition, Supplement, 2005 , None
  • Children's Catalog, Nineteenth Edition, 2006 , None

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Comstock Read Aloud Book Award , Read Aloud Age (8-12) , 2006

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State & Provincial Reading List :

  • Arkansas Diamond Primary Book Award; None 2007-2008
  • Delaware Diamonds; None 2006-2007
  • Emphasis on Reading; Grades 2-3 2006-2007
  • Georgia Children's Book Award; Picture Story 2008-2009

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Reading Measurement Programs:

() .

Lexile, MetaMetrics, Inc.

Reading Counts-Scholastic
Reading Level 3.7
Interest Level 3-5
Title Point Value 3

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Reviews :

Timnah Card (Bulletin)
After Hannah's mother dies and her sister has been sold to another plantation, Hannah's father tells her it is time to use her patchwork quilt map to find their way to freedom. Each of the quilt squares instructs the travelers how to negotiate the distance to Canada and, in the text, marks a segment of their journey as they determinedly put distance between themselves and their Georgia plantation. In keeping with the timing of the quilt squares in the text, the plot emphasizes particular episodes rather than providing a full explanation of slavery, quilts, and the Underground Railroad; though the meaning of the quilt symbols is clearly explained, their utility in Hannah's journey is sometimes more structurally convenient than credible. The text is succinct but sufficient for the story, concrete details establishing setting and mood as well as providing clues for Hannah's decoding of the quilt map. Hannah's own worries about safety and unquestioning trust in her father's guidance draw listeners into her world and allow them to imagine themselves in her situation. The oil illustrations feature a warm palette with figures outlined in sunset shades of scarlet and gold; the deliberately angular three-dimensionality of the style is strongly dramatic without losing touch with realism (though the protagonists stay awfully neat and tidy in the face of their trials). A personable introduction to African-American history and a fascinating folk art, this would pair well with other early tales of the Underground Railroad such as Nelson's Almost to Freedom (BCCB 3/04). An author's note gives bibliographic and historical information for the story. (Reviewed from galleys) Review Code: R -- Recommended. (c) Copyright 2005, The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2005, Candlewick, 32p, $15.99. Ages 5-8 yrs.
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

Cindy L. Carolan (Children's Literature)
This book is based on a story that was handed down in the oral tradition from African-American quilter Ozella McDaniel Williams. Young Hannah and her family are slaves on a Georgia plantation. After the master sells Hannah s sister and their broken hearted mother dies, Hannah and her father secretly leave in search of freedom in Canada, using Mama s monkey wrench quilt as a map. The quilt contains a code in its pattern, clues to lead them to their destination. The oil painting illustrations effectively communicate the characters emotions and are done in lovely earth tones. This book would be a valuable resource in any African-American, history or art curriculum (for story quilts, also look for the works of Faith Ringgold). A brief historical overview of the Underground Railroad and story quilts is contained at the conclusion. This story contains breathtaking depictions of the power of symbols, visual communication, and ingenuity. Highly recommended. 2007, Candlewick Press, $7.99. Ages 5 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 2007 c2005.)

Kirkus (Kirkus)
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) 2005, Candlewick, 32p, $15.99. Category: Picture book. Ages 4 to 9. © 2004 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 2005.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Candlewick Press $7.99., 2007

Media Type:

Candlewick Press (Cambridge Mass.:), PUBLISHED: 2005.,

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