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THE PATCHWORK PATH by Bettye Stroud

THE PATCHWORK PATH

A Quilt Map to Freedom

By Bettye Stroud (Author) , Erin Susanne Bennett (Illustrator)

Age Range: 4 - 9

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-7636-2423-3
Publisher: Candlewick

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)