Reading/Interest Level: Preschool, Primary, Intermediate
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator: James Ransome
Publisher: Dragonfly Books
Clara is a young slave. Though she is forced to work in the fields, an older friend takes Clara under her wing and teaches her to sew. Eventually Clara is able to work as a seamstress in the main house. While there, Clara hears stories about slaves who escape and go north to Canada where they are free. Clara begins to piece together a map of the plantation and path north towards Canada. To allow others to use this map, she makes it into a quilt. Many slaves are blessed as they follow the map north and obtain freedom of their own.
This story teaches children about slavery in a non-graphic and informative way, helping us understand how this was a difficult time for African Americans. The book is well-written and tells a complex story in a simple and influential manner. Clara's character is inspiring, teaching readers that they can be strong, courageous, and leaders to those around them. Her courage to reach freedom and provide that for others engages children and teaches them to be selfless.