Thursday, January 31, 2008

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
By: Deborah Hopkinson
paintings by James Ransome

Synopsis: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt is about a girl who is taken away from her mother at a young age to become a field hand. She then meets a woman who becomes her "aunt," who gives her the opportunity to work inside the house as a seamstress instead of out in the field. After becoming a seamstress, Clara decides she wants to run away from the life she has, and weaves a map into a quilt she creates to help her escape. The character in this book is independent and courageous, as she plans for her own escape without the help of others.

Possible Activities: This book can be used to introduce concepts of freedom and bondage. Students can compare and contrast ideas surrounding what it means to be free. Also in the realms of freedom and bondage are the different kinds of lifestyles individuals may have. Students can talk about different lifestyles based on time periods, locations, etc. This book can also be used to explore the beginnings of social movements, when individuals first began to go against the structures of society (i.e. running away from their "masters"). The book can also be used to introduce geography and maps.

Social Justice Education: 1) Self-Love and Acceptance: Students can learn about the courageousness of their people and learn about their histories. 3) Exploring Issues of Social Justice: Students can begin to explore issues of racism that lead to slavery. They can also begin to understand how racism in history has had an impact on present-day racism. 4) Social movements and social change: Students can see how individuals struggled for freedom, going against the conventions of society. Individuals that helped fight for freedom were both black and white - an issue that is mentioned briefly in the book. 5) Taking Social Action: Students can see that individuals who did not agree with the slavery went against society to do what they believed was right. Many individuals risked their own lives to help slaves to freedom.

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