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The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom
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The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  182 ratings  ·  56 reviews
The images stitched into Hannah's patchwork quilt lead to secret signposts on the Underground Railroad as she and her father take flight from slavery on a perilous path to freedom.

The wagon wheel. The bear's paw. The flying geese. These are some of the squares in the quilt Hannah's mama helped her to sew -- before Hannah's sister was sold to another plantation and before M
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published January 13th 2005 by Candlewick Press (first published 2005)
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Becky Birtha
I've probably read too many picture books about escaping on the underground railroad to be a fair judge anymore. The Patchwork Path is also one of a growing number that tell of the use of patchwork quilts as maps or code for escaping travelers. (On this subject, the author's afterword provides a reference to historical source book, Hidden in Plain Sight). Erin Susanne Bennett's brightly colored paintings, while stunning, may make the journey seem more simple than it could really have been. What ...more
Bethany Mcguirk
Stroud, B. (2005). The patchwork path: A quilt map to freedom. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Candlewick Press.

Picture Book Soak (one I can’t wait to use)

A Patchwork Path tells the story of one girl and her father’s escape from slavery. She and her father head north to Canada to leave their life on a Georgia plantation. They follow the path recorded in stitches in their family quilt, which served as a coded map to freedom. Although this story is fiction, the Afterword explains that American slaves d
Ruby Choe
The book is about Hannah and her father running away from the plantation, where they were slaves. Hannah uses the codes from the quilt that her mother made as her guide to freedom. It is age-appropriate for upper elementary leveled students. The story is interesting to children and makes them think about questions such as who were slaves, and why they tried to find freedom. It contains rich, thick plot and includes realistic, convincing characters. The illustrations enhance and correspond to the ...more
Jessica Gilligan
Stroud, Bettye. (2005). The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom. Candlewick Press.


This was a touching story about two slaves who must journey far and wide to gain their freedom. It was based on stories that have been passed down orally about the underground railroad and quilts that were used to relay messages. The young girl Hannah was given a quilt by her mother, who later passed away. She was told that the quilt contained a secret code that would help her escape to freedom. Each
Christine Mccurley
Stroud, B. (2007). The patchwork path. Somerville, MA: Candlewick Press.
Tumblebooks/ LOV
This story gives an example of what it would be life for a young girl making an escape from slavery. Unlike what many may know, a quilt can hold all of the secrets of freedom. Although this story is fictional, it contains elements from real live events. Through the drawings and the story line, the reader is able to understand the difficulties the family faced on their journey. When discussing the Underground
Fara Carson
The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

Stroud, B., & Bennett, E. S. (2005, January 1). A Patchwork Path:A Quilt Map to Freedom [TumbleBook Edition]. Retrieved from http://

Tumble Book

A wonderful book about how a slave family escaped using a Freedom Quilt. The book had wonderful pictures that had rich colors. I am not sure that this book made the best tumble book or if the animation on the tumble book was lacking but this was not the best version of a tumbl
Lisa Carroll
This is one of the most beautiful historical fiction books that I have ever read. Although this is a picture book, it is geared more towards the older child than a younger child. There is a great deal of symbolism and historical facts that would be lost on a younger child. There are a few details that are true in this book, and this is based on a true story. Many African American Slaves did use quilts to communicate on the Underground Railroad. Children need to learn from the mistakes that our a ...more
I have used this in 4th and 5th grade classes to discuss the Underground Railroad and the coded quilts that were used. The kids have been captivated by the story, which really explains the quilt squares so much better than a lecture could. After reading it, we review what each of the quilt squares was called and what its code indicated to the runaway slave. The pictures are quite clear and do a wonderful job of illustrating the meaning behind the quilt squares.

I would also recommend this anyone
Amanda Behrends
Summary - Father and daughter slaves escape to freedom using the patches of a quilt sewn by the child's mother to lead them through to freedom in Canada.
Curriculum Connection - I would love using this with second to fourth grade students to discuss the unique traditions of slaves in the south and how they used unwritten and unspoken forms of communication. This would fit in with a discussion of famous Americans in second grade playing off of the study of Lincoln or with the discussion of Virgini
The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom tells the story of a young girl and her father’s flight from slavery to freedom. Hannah uses the quilt that her mother made to guide her and her father through the frightening journey. Each square from the quilt symbolizes an action or path that they will need to take to reach Canada safely. As long as Hannah remembers, her mother and father have been talking about freedom, but when her sister is sold to a different slave owner and Hannah’s mother dies ...more
Abbey Ausnehmer
I think this book is an excellent book for children to learn about slavery. It teaches the children some history about slavery and how it was for the slaves and what they had to go through to be free. It is not too intense for the children but it does talk about the hard times slaves went through such as Hannah's sister, Mary, gets sold and then her mother passes away. I think this book would teach the children a lot. It also has great pictures in it.
Olivia Kirkham
I found this book to be deeply moving. It teaches you about about a very sad time in history in a way that allows children to receive it well. It was clever and I liked how each picture was simple enough a child could understand it. I particularly liked how at the end, one quilt square was left for the little girls sister who was sold and couldn't escape with them. I would highly recommend reading this book to children but also explain the history behind it so they can appreciate it more.
Sarah Alexander
I read this book as a TumbleBook and thought it was very interesting and the illustrations were eye catching. The story is about a little girl that is escaping from slavery using the Underground Railroad. Her mother made her a quilt that her father and her use to leave slavery in Georgia and head for Canada. This story would be good to used when talking about the Underground Railroad in class, especially with younger children because it is in the perspective of a young child. I also thought it c ...more
Malea Potter
This is a beautifully illustrated picture. Plus, the story is well written and would be very interesting for children. I love the way that the author has the clues/patterns these for the reader to follow all the way through the book. I think children would really enjoy following the clues. And I think this would be a great book to teach children about slavery and the underground railroad. This is one I wouldn't mind adding to my own collection.
My name is Hannah. I was a slave on a Georgia plantation.

"Each pattern holds a special meaning," Mama whispered. "Hannah, this quilt will show you everything you need to know to run to freedom."

This was a really good book, and very sweet. The illustrations were cool, too. When I grow up and have a kid who's learning about the abolition of slavery, I'll probably read this book to him or her!
This book is about a young slave girl named Hannah who lives with her family on a plantation in Georgia. When her sister gets sold to another slave owner and her mother dies of heart ache, Hannah and her father set out to escape from slavery. Hannah's mother had taught her how to make a patchwork quilt that would help her to freedom one day. Each patch had a secret meaning to help them travel. Hannah and here Papa followed the patchwork quilts meanings and found their way to freedom in Canada. T ...more
Summary:This story is about a little girl, Hannah, and her father who are slaves. They escape to Canada to gain their freedom. To get there, they use the patchwork quilt (created by her mother) that contains hidden clues.
Curriculum Connection:Maps and directions, geography, African-American history
Reaction:I liked this story more and more as I continue to read it. It had great details and although it's fictional, many locations and passageways were real. I would definitely use this book as an in
Ashley Snarr
What I enjoyed about this book was the images. They were beautiful and as she described what each patch looked like the pictures were dead on to the explanation. I also loved that the story has historical facts of what it was like for the slaves abs the clever ways they used to escape. I found the story intriguing and educational but was also pleasing to the eye and fun for kids
Ashlee Moser
I was really surprised at how much I liked this book. I thought that it had a great message with the mother and the quilt she made. I would definitely read this to my class when we were learning about the African American slaves. This would help describe what some of the slaves had to go through to escape.
Brittany Newton
Great story! This book would be wonderful to use for a history lesson. If I were to use it, that is what I would use it for. It is based on historical events during the times of slavery. A young girl named Hannah lived with her family and they were slaves on a farm. Hannah's sister got sold and then her mother later passed away. Before her mother passed, she taught her how to sew quilts. Hannah and her father later escaped and it talks about their adventure/struggles. Hannah sews a quilt that te ...more
Young Hannah is a slave on a southern plantation. Her mother passes away after her sister is sold. But her memories are fond, especially of quilt making and the secrets of the pattern. Throughout this fictional story of historical events, Hannah and her father run towards freedom following the code of the quilt. Along the way the meet gentle characters that help them get to a ship to sail them to Canada. Close to the end of their journey, relieved by the sight of a new land, she is reminded of t ...more
I loved the way this story let us see what escaping slaves went through t gain their freedom. the concept of using the quilt map to get the story along was fabulous. teachers could easily use this in a history lesson and create activities and crafts from this book.
Mary Meldrum
An amazing look at the communication between slaves running for freedom and those who helped them. The story of a little girl who helped heer mother create a quilt with the instructions for flight to Canada. Well worth reading and sharing.
Melissa Martin
What a great book on freedom. This is a great story that gives us perspective on the journey that so many took to gain freedom. This is a great book to read on Black History Month.
Kayla Skeans
This story was so unique that when the mother of the little girl made the quilt it was going to be for the father and little girl to get to safety from the life of slaves.
In this beautifully illustrated book, Hannah is a slave on a Georgia plantation. When she is ten, her mother taught her to make a "special quilt" where "each pattern holds a special meaning." She and her family dreamed of freedom. After her sister is sold and her mother passes away, Hannah and her father leave the the plantation and escape to Canada following the secret signs in the quilt. Their journey is full of danger, but the desire for freedom is great. Picture books like this is a wonderfu ...more
Gail Barge
This would be a great book to read with students when studying the underground railroad and the ways in which slaves escaped to freedom. The afterword of the book explains where the story comes from and the truth behind the story. This book could lead to a whole discussion and study of the quilts made by slaves that held to secrets to freedom in symbols. I would like to have students create their own quilts of freedom using symbols to create a map to freedom. I think that would be an interesting ...more
Amber Adams
This story describes the encounters of slaves as they try to escape to the underground railroad. The author uses sensory details (Papa‟s lantern cast strange shadows; followed the riverbed upstream; The cold soaked my shoes. My toes felt like icy, hard pebbles; My knees and legs ached; Just as the sun rose, I saw a flock of geese) and italicized words to invite ua into the story and allow us to imagine exactly what the character is going through. I will use this book to teach students that diffe ...more
Lindsay Gilbert
Good to have in class as a read aloud.
Tita Kontodiakos
- Grade/Interest Level: 3rd
- Reading Level: Primary
- Genre: Historical, Information
- Main characters: Little girl, Father
- Setting: Underground Railroad
- POV: 3rd person
Summary: This is a glorified story about a young girls travel to freedom with her father. The little girl and her father find their way alone on the Underground Railroad by means of the girl’s quilt which was passed down to her by her late mother.
Theme: This story signifies the importance of family, especially during hard time
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Bettye Stroud, a former school library media specialist and author of several children’s books, is on a “mission” to introduce kids to the joys and benefits of reading at an early age. Reading out loud to children is the single most important thing an adult can do to prepare a child for future academic success and life. “Reading is a skill that they will use for the rest of their lives, and embrac ...more
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