Book 280: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

by Deborah Hopkinson

paintings by James Ransome

A Reading Rainbow Book

In this story, a slave girl patiently, quietly, and unobtrusively sews her way to freedom over the course of several years.  This story may be over the heads of children upon first reading, and is a good text to use for the reading comprehension skill of inferring.  It is historical fiction and deals with the issue of slavery and the Underground Railroad.  It is also a story good enough to be included in the Reading Rainbow book list. Teachers and parents only have to discuss the issues in the books as far as children are able to understand.  The best way to do this is to read the book and then let the children question you!  Adults do not need to over explain, knowing that in future years more understanding will be possible.  

I didn’t make a worksheet for this book, but made a set of 7 discussion posters with pictures for group discussion.  The questions could be used with the Think-Pair-Share format, or the whole group.   Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt Discussion Posters, Free, PDF

There are many wonderful lessons to accompany this book online.  Here are a few links to lesson plans and more:

1.  The University of South Florida:  Lesson plan to accompany this book including a spelling list and concepts to be covered.

2.  Read, Write, Think Lesson plan including uses for quilts, some understanding of the Underground Railroad, Problem and Solution, and creating “quilt” student maps.

3.  National Geographic:  Quilting, the Story of the Underground Railroad

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt info photo


About Carolyn Wilhelm

Carolyn Wilhelm is the author of The Wise Owl Factory, The Wise Owl Factory Book a Day Blog, and is web master for the Wise Owl Factory Teaching Friends blog She has an MS in Gifted Education, an MA in Curriculum and Instruction K-12, and is a National Board Certified Teacher.
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