Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson, illustrated by James Ransome

This absolutely beautiful book, written by Deborah Hopkinson and illustrated by James Ransome, is just what I needed to share with my 5th graders to complement their unit on the Civil War. It also gave me a chance to discuss historical fiction, the use of dialect, and descriptive language. The story led to some great discussion about slavery and plantation hierarchy as 12-year-old Clara's story brings history to life. I like to follow this one up with the shorter story,
Under the Quilt of Night, which includes a great author's note about Hopkinson's research into the history and folklore of the Underground Railroad.

For more information, be sure to check out Deborah Hopkinson's website at She includes great links to sites with ideas for lesson plans and other activities that go with these books.

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