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Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (Reading Rainbow Books) Paperback – 31 Aug 1995

5 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Frequently Bought Together

  • Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt (Reading Rainbow Books)
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  • The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom
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  • Henry's Freedom Box
Total price: £23.91
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Product details

  • 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)

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Product Description

From the Author

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.

Inside This Book

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First Sentence
BEFORE I WAS EVEN TWELVE YEARS OLD, I got sent from North Farm to Home Plantation 'cause needed another field hand. Read the first page
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a fourth grade reading teacher in Texas I read SWEET CLARA to my students as a Texas "Bluebonnet Book". I found it to be an interesting, easily understood book, with a feeling of mystery. In other words, "I loved it!"
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0x99964c18) out of 5 stars 46 reviews
15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9978e174) out of 5 stars Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkins 8 April 2001
By Stacy Shinovich - Published on
Format: Paperback
This story is told through the eyes of a young slave named Clara. Clara was taken from her mama, so when she arrives at the new plantation a woman named Rachel befriends her. Aunt Rachel, as she becomes known, notices that Clara is not enjoying working in the cotton fields. Aunt Rachel teaches Clara how to sew and Clara eventually starts working in the Big House. While working in the Big House she pays close atttention to the others as they talk and describe the areas around the plantation. Clara secretly goes every night and works on the quilt made of the scraps from the Big House. Clara makes a beautiful quilt in hopes that it will help her and others escape to freedom. Read more to find out what happens to Clara and the others. The illustrations in this story showed how the people of that time period looked, dressed, and worked. Ransome's illustrations enhanced Hopkins' delightful story of Clara and the quilt. The author and illustrator accurately portray specific cultures and customs of the ethnic situation. Overall, this was a delightful story to add to any classroom discussion on the topic of freedom and slaves.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99a09df8) out of 5 stars Sweet Clara is a fascinating book stimulating curiosity. 23 Feb. 1999
By (Patsy Simpson) - Published on
Format: Hardcover
As a fourth grade reading teacher in Texas I read SWEET CLARA to my students as a Texas "Bluebonnet Book". I found it to be an interesting, easily understood book, with a feeling of mystery. In other words, "I loved it!"
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x99a0d5dc) out of 5 stars --This is a well written and very interesting story-- 18 Nov. 2003
By Judith Miller - Published on
Format: Paperback
I discovered SWEET CLARA AND THE FREEDOM QUILT when I was doing a little research into the Underground Railroad. It has been a long-standing theory that patchwork quilts were used to help the enslaved people to escape by the encoded messages in the quilt patterns. This story is another take-off on that traditional idea.

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!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9979303c) out of 5 stars Sweet Clara And The Freedom Quilt 5 Mar. 2002
A Kid's Review - Published on
Format: Paperback
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt This wonderful book`` Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt'' was by Deborah Hopkinson. The Publisher is by Alfred A. Knope. The illustrator is James Ransome. There are 15 pages and the intended audience is 7-11 for kids to read.
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.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9978e3cc) out of 5 stars Fantastic for reading aloud 7 Mar. 2005
By J. Stout - Published on
Format: Paperback
Deborah Hopkinson's use of dialogue in this story is what really recommends it to be read aloud. The characters come through the story so well through their words. They usually don't come right out and SAY anything, but instead communicate vital information in a round-about sort of way. They pretend not to have a care in the world, all the while desperately plotting against their captors.

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.
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