Below is an annotated list of children's literature for the elementary classroom. The books are organized by the Six Elements of Social Justice Curriculum Design (Picower, 2007). It is based on work by pre-service teachers at Montclair State University. They have read and reviewed these books and provided insights into how they can be used in K-5 settings.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Title: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Grade Level: K-2 (Ages 4-8)

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt tells the story of a young slave girl. At the beginning of the story, Clara, who is 11 years old, is taken from her mother and sold to a new master. Clara started out as a field hand picking cotton. In the field, she cried wanting to see her mother so badly. She dreamed that one day she would see her mother again and she would do whatever it took to make that happen. Clara learns how to sew and moves from a field hand to a seamstress in the house. Being in the house has many advantages for young Clara. She overhears many conversations about the Underground Railroad and the paths to take to make it through. She decides to take scraps of fabric to start making herself a quilt. Instead of a regular quilt, she makes a map to freedom. Many other slaves know what she is trying to do and give her help whenever they can by telling her new paths they discover. She finally finishes the quilt and decides that it is time to leave the plantation. She takes a few people with her but leaves the quilt behind with an elderly woman who could not make the trip. Clara and the slaves she escapes with travel all the way to freedom where Clara sees her mom again. The quilt she left behind helps many more people escape to freedom each day.

Element four is about social movements and social change. People who are famous for social change like Harriet Tubman or Rosa Parks are honored for what they did. However, there are people like Clara who helped change the world as well. Although this story is not a true story, it still shows children that not everyone who helped change the world was acknowledged for doing so. It takes a lot more than just one person to change the minds of a nation. Clara was like Harriet Tubman because she led many people on the right path to freedom. In class, students can have a chance to make their own quilt pieces. Children will take home a fabric square and decorate it with their family. Their square represents them. Once all the squares are completed, the teacher will sew them all together to make one big class quilt, combining every culture and family in the class together.

Click here for another great review of the book!

No comments:

Post a Comment