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Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Quilt Stories

This relates to my previous post on "Every quilt has a story to tell"

Below are a few books I found of meaningful quilt stories... There are so many more, but these are my personal favorites… 

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson with paintings by James Ransome.  This book is about a 12-year-old slave girl who wants desperately to reunite with her mother and find her way to freedom...with the help of her "aunt" she goes from working in the fields to working in the Big House as a seamstress. Working in the Big House allows Clara opportunities to overhear discussions about the Underground Railroad.  She soon gets the idea to begin stitching a map to freedom in a quilt which is made of scraps she salvages from her work in the Big House.  Eventually, Clara makes her way to her mother and to freedom.  However, the quilt is left behind with her "aunt" in the slave quarters on the plantation and used by many others who have heard of the quilt and its map to freedom.

The Secret to Freedom by Marcia Vaughan.  The story is set in the years before the Civil War and tells the story of Lucy, a young slave on a southern plantation, and her older brother.  Lucy learns the "secret to freedom" when her brother brings home a sack full of old quilts.  He explains to her what all the different patterns mean for slaves trying to reach freedom by means of the Underground Railroad.  Lucy decides to help by hanging out the "right" quilts at the right time for the runaways that depend on the messages.

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnson with illustrations by Tomie dePaola. This one is my favorite.  This is a cute story about two little girls -- one from pioneer days and the other from modern times, who share the same quilt. The story begins with a pioneer mother sewing a quilt for her young daughter.  The girl's name, Abigail, is sewn into the quilt.  The little girl loves the quilt and it is a great comfort to her during times of sickness and especially after a move across the prairie.  After a time, the quilt becomes forgotten until it is found again, mouse-eaten and torn, in an attic by another little girl -- presumably a distant relative of the first little girl.  She takes the quilt to her mother who mends the quilt for her.  Just like the girl from pioneer days, the modern girl has to move to a new place.  The quilt brings her a sense of comfort during a time when she feels sad and the quilt helps her adjust to her new home.

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