- Paperback: 40 pages
- Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (31 Aug. 1995)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0679874720
- ISBN-13: 978-0679874720
- Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 0.4 x 26.7 cm
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1 customer review)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 260,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (Reading Rainbow Books) Paperback – 31 Aug 1995
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A Note from the Author
SWEET CLARA is a work of fiction, inspired by hearing a story some years ago on National Public Radio about slave quilts. Now, a new book by Jacqueline Tobin and Raymond Dobard, HIDDEN IN PLAIN VIEW, A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad, presents research that a secret code really did exist.
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Clara, a slave girl under the age of twelve, was sent away from her mother to another plantation to work in the fields and pick cotton. She makes friends with Young Jack who sees that she's unhappy and not eating and advises her that she must eat to have the strength to be a field worker. Clara now shares a cabin with an older woman, who is kind to her and though unrelated, is called Aunt Rachel.
Aunt Rachel also sees that Clara may not be strong enough to be a field laborer, and over a period of time teaches Clara the art of sewing. Once she can learn to sew, she can work with Rachel at the Big House. Clara proves to be an apt pupil and eventually becomes a seamstress and goes to work for the mistress of the plantation.
The sewing room is next to the kitchen so that Clara meets a lot of people who move around the countryside. She also hears stories about the Underground Railroad, which is a group of people who help slaves to escape. As Clara listens to the people talking, she begins to question them about the surrounding land and decides to make a map out of sewing scraps. Eventually the quilt map is completed and Clara and Jack are ready to leave the plantation and go north to find the Ohio River, and head for Canada. Since Clara had memorized the quilt map, she left it behind so that others could use it too, and escape to the North.
The illustrations by James Ransome are excellent. The drawings are colorful and the expressions on the faces of the characters are wonderfully presented. My favorite illustration and excerpt takes place when Clara is leaving the plantation, and Aunt Rachel advises, "Before you go, just cover me with your quilt, Sweet Clara," she says, "I'm too old to walk, but not too old to dream. And maybe I can help others follow the quilt to freedom."
This is a wonderful offering by Deborah Hopkinson and James Ransome!
Sweet Clara was a very brave girl. She really wants to get back to her mother. Sometimes I like to make quilts just like Clara. I like it when Clara starts making the freedom quilt.But I do not like it when Young Jack escapes too see Sweet Clara.
I did like the book ,because it was freeing the slaves.
This is book would be a great tool for opening up a discussion about why people say one thing when they really mean something else entirely. Also, this book is great for discussing ways of "escaping" authority and subverting roles of apparent compliance.
Sweet Clara deserves a place on the bookshelves of young revolutionaries worldwide.