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Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt.

by Deborah Hopkinson paintings by James Ransom Random House, January 2003 $15.95, ISBN 0-679-82311-5 Ages 5-10

Quilters will enjoy sharing their love of the needlecraft with the youngest generation through this story. With the help of the entire bound community on a pre-Civil War plantation, an enslaved child named Sweet Clara makes a "quilt map" that guides two youngsters to freedom, connecting them to the Underground Railroad.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt does for children what Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad by Jacqueline L. Tobin and Raymond G. Dobard, Ph.D. (See BIBR May-June 1999) documented for an adult audience.

The story is beautifully composed, yet the art leaves much to be desired in historical accuracy and its rendering of quilts. This title, however, is a wonderful way to pass down our quilting culture to young reader-quilters, especially if it is accompanied by the stunning visuals in A Communion of the Spirits: African-American Quilters, Preservers, and Their Stories by Roland L. Freeman (Rutledge Hill Press, November 1996, ISBN 1-558-53425-3) and Spirits of the Cloth: Contemporary African American Quilts by Carolyn Mazloomi (Clarkson Potter, November 1998, ISBN 0-609-60091-5).
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Author:Ingrum, Adrienne
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:May 1, 2003
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