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Leaving Gee's Bend

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  414 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
Ludelphia Bennett may be blind in one eye, but she can still put in a good stitch. Ludelphia sews all the time, especially when things go wrong. But when Mama goes into labor early and gets deathly ill, it seems like even quilting won't help. That's when Ludelphia decides to do something drastic--leave Gee's Bend for the very first time. Mama needs medicine that can only b ...more
Hardcover, 240 pages
Published January 7th 2010 by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers
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Steph Su
Oct 15, 2009 Steph Su rated it liked it
Shelves: debs10
A great main character unfortunately doesn’t make up for the contrived plot in this lukewarm debut novel that attempts to be a moving journey of familial resilience in the face of racism and other elements.
At the beginning, I thought this book was almost magical. Ludelphia is a fantastic narrator, her voice so genuine, earnest, and warm. She’s ten years old but will be loved by readers of all ages, a classic protagonist going on a seemingly straightforward journey for someone else and discoverin
Nov 29, 2010 Shannon rated it liked it
Leaving Gee’s Bend is a book my 9 year old chose one week at the library. I was interested in reading it since I’ve heard of the quilts of Gee’s Bend, but didn’t know much about the area itself. This juvenile fiction novel follows Ludelphia Bennett as she leaves Gee’s Bend for the city of Camden, situated across the Alabama River from Gee’s Bend.

I read quite a few young adult and juvenile novels each year and I’ve found they fall into one of two categories: 1) they are classified at books for y
Margo Tanenbaum
Aug 13, 2010 Margo Tanenbaum rated it really liked it
Latham was inspired to write this book by an exhibit she visited in New York on the quilts of Gee's Bend, a small rural community in Alabama. After the Civil War, the freed slaves, who worked as sharecroppers, founded an all-black community nearly isolated from the surrounding world. The town’s women developed a distinctive quilting style passed down through at least six generations; these quilts have been exhibited in a museum show which toured major museums around the country.

Set in 1932, the
Kimberly Derting
Aug 15, 2009 Kimberly Derting rated it it was amazing
From the very first sentence, Latham draws you in with her masterful use of language, making you feel as if *she* is a 10-year-old black girl from 1930's Alabama speaking to you from the pages. To say that Leaving Gee's Bend is brilliant is an understatement, and to give it only five-stars feels lacking.

Ludelphia's story, while laced with tragedy and fear is brimming with the kind of hope only a child can posses. The lyrical words wrap around you like the threads Ludelphia stitches through the
Joyce Lansky
Feb 19, 2011 Joyce Lansky rated it it was amazing
I first met Irene Latham and heard about her book, "Leaving Gee's Bend," at a Midsouth SCBWI Writer's Conference. Although Irene is a nice person, I honestly had no desire to read a book about people stitching quilts in the south. Boy had I misjudged her book! I thoroughly enjoyed Irene's delightful tale of Ludelphia Bennet, a poor African American girl from the 1930s, who only wanted to save her dying mother by traveling to Camden to bring Doc Nelson to her mom's bedside. I found myself quickly ...more
Oct 30, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
I really wasn't sure if I'd like this novel. Gee's Bend has never really interested me, and I wasn't sure if a white adult novelist would be able to convincingly tell a story as a ten-year-old poor black child. But everyone was raving about the book, and the author is from my state, so I gave it a go. And am I ever glad that I did!

Ludelphia Bennett is such a wonderful character. She jumped into my mind and heart and took over as I raced through her story. Secondary characters were just as develo
Colby Sharp
Nov 30, 2012 Colby Sharp rated it it was amazing
I was mezmorized by Irene's story. A must read for lovers of historical fiction.
Apr 05, 2011 Doret rated it did not like it
When I saw this advertised in a catalog I got very excited. A novel set in Gee's Bend, I couldn't wait to read it. I wish I could say I liked it.
When I started Leaving Gee's Bend, I had high hopes. My initial thoughts the Southern dialect is good and I liked 10 yr old Ludelphia. Lu,with only one working eye but still took to quilting. I was ready to follow Lu on a great adventure. I was ready to listen as Lu talked about the quilt she was making her mother and the stories that came with each sti
Nicola Mansfield
Jan 31, 2010 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
Reason for Reading: I love books set in 1930s Southern USA.

Summary: Ludelphia Bennett is ten years old, her family is part of a sharecropping community. Ludelphia wears a patch over one eye as she accidentally went blind in it when a tiny sliver of wood flew into it when she was younger. She has a passion for quilting and is working on a special quilt now for her Mama that will tell Ludelphia's story to her. Mama is ill with a terrible cough and large with a baby on the way but when Mama goes in
Kimberly Bower (gladeslibrarian)
Jul 18, 2011 Kimberly Bower (gladeslibrarian) rated it really liked it
Shelves: galley, juvenile
Ten-year-old Ludelphia Bennett had never set her bare feet on any dirt outside the small sharecropping community of Gee's Bend, Alabama. There was never a need for it. While her daddy and brother were in the fields pulling cotton, Ludelphia helped her mama around the house. When there wasn't work to be done she pulled the small scraps of cloth and needle from her pocket to work on her story quilt. Stitching the tiny pieces together settled her thoughts and comforted her.

As time passed, Mama nee
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 28, 2010 Aubrey rated it liked it
Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham
Description via Goodreads,
A young girl sets out to save her sick mother and records her
adventures in quilt pieces.

Ludelphia Bennett may be blind in one eye, but she can still put in a good stitch. Ludelphia sews all the time, especially when things go wrong.

But when Mama goes into labor early and gets deathly ill, it seems like even quilting won’t help. That’s when Ludelphia decides to do something drastic—leave Gee’s Bend for the very first time. Mama needs
JG (The Introverted Reader)
Ludelphia Bennett is worried about her mom. After several miscarriages, Mama finally seems to be carrying a baby to term. But she is coughing a lot and looking weaker every day. When the baby comes early, Ludelphia doesn't know what to do. She asks their neighbor, Etta Mae, for help. But Etta Mae has a bad reputation since she came back to the little town of Gee's Bend, and everyone thinks she made things worse instead of better. When Mama gets sicker and sicker after the birth, Etta Mae challen ...more
Nov 08, 2011 Elaine rated it liked it
KBA 2012 nominee for grades 3-5. Ludelphia Bennett is 10 years old, an African-American girl, living with her sharecropping family and neighbors in dire poverty in Gee's Bend, Alabama. She is blind in one eye due to a childhood injury and loves to quilt. Ludelphia's mother is gravely ill with pneumonia and influenza and has just given birth to a baby girl. Ludelphia decides to travel to the nearest city (without her parent's permission) to fetch the doctor. While there she encounters a mean-spir ...more
Sandra Stiles
May 11, 2010 Sandra Stiles rated it it was amazing
Leaving Gee's Bend was a book I really enjoyed. It had everything I love in a book. It had a character that at first glance seems weak and then shows how strong a character they are. It has the history part that I loved. To top all of this off they merged all of this with one of my favorite things, quilting.
Leaving Gee's Bend is the story of Ludelphia Bennett, a ten year old black girl who must seek medical help for her mother. Her mother was pregnant and had been having terrible coughing fits.
Mar 20, 2010 McKenzie rated it it was amazing
Ludelphia Bennett, only ten years old and blind in one eye, must set out on a dangerous journey to save her mom. After giving birth to another daughter, Ludelphia's mom is sick. The only medicine available is miles away from Gee's Bend, their hometown. Ludelphia sets off to get the medicine and save her mom, often coming across difficulties that slow her down. Quilting plays an integral part in the story, offering Ludelphia solace and hope.

Leaving Gee's Bend is a great example of YA Historical F
Sep 12, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it
I read this book because I saw the exhibit of the quilts made by the women of Gee's Bend at the Art Museum in Houston, TX. According to Wikipedia, Gee's Bend is a "poverty-stricken African-American community in a large bend of the Alabama River in Wilcox County, Alabama." The women of the community have been recycling fabric into quilts for generations. When an item of clothing was too worn to wear, it was cut up to be reused. They made those quilts from whatever they had, and they had very litt ...more
IndyPL Kids Book Blog
Gee’s Bend is a tiny little place in Alabama on the bend of a river. It isn’t even a town really, just a place with a name. It’s the place where Ludelphia Bennett lives with her family and a few neighbors who are also sharecroppers for Mr. Cobb. Old Mr. Cobb owns the land around Gee’s Bend. The Bennetts and the other familes work the farm and pay their rent with a “share” of the harvest. It’s 1932 and times are really hard. It is the Great Depression and times are tough for everyone, especially ...more
Feb 16, 2010 Crystal rated it really liked it
Leaving Gee's Bend is a marvelous debut book by Irene Latham. I was immediately consumed by the book and kept turning the pages. I found the look at Ludelphia's life to be fascinating. The 1930's are something I know very little about, and this book gave me just a slice of life then. The funny thing is is this book could easily take place now - as there are some rural areas that are just that poor. So with that in mind it was really easy to get into the novel.

I really loved how quilting tied eve
June Morgan
May 29, 2010 June Morgan rated it it was amazing
Currently, we have an exhibit sponsored by many organizations in Columbia, SC called Gee's Bend. I bought LEAVING GEE'S BEND several weeks ago, but did not make the connection between the exhibit and this book until I started reading the book. What a wonderful coincidence!

The book, Leaving Gee's Bend, tells the story of a small sharecropper's community called Gee's Bend. The nearest town is Camden. All of the sharecroppers live extremely simple. Each family is indebted to the owner of Camden Mer
Jan 28, 2010 GoldenjoyBazyll rated it it was amazing
Recommended to GoldenjoyBazyll by: Betsy brought it back from a conference
Shelves: children, fiction
If you do not know about Gee's Bend- it's a little community in Alabama. The folks there are very poor but they are known as a quilting community. I first heard about Gee's Bend through a book that came out displaying the quilts made in that area. Since then the Walters Art Museum has had the exhibit.

Anyhow.... this book is BEAUTIFULLY written. It is the story of a 10 year old girl and her life in Gee's Bend- with a particular focus on the day her mom gave birth to a new baby. Her dad and older
Apr 16, 2010 Keyona rated it really liked it
From the Blog:

I haven't read any Middle Grade books in years because I figured that at my age I would find them silly. Well I'm really glad I took a chance on this one. I enjoy reading books set in the South. There's something so realistic about them even when it's fiction.

Ludelphia is one of my favorite main characters. She's only ten but she's smart, and extremely courageous. At times she's a little naive but what ten-year-olds aren't? I'm glad the author captured the fact that even though she
Jun 25, 2010 Phoebe rated it really liked it
Ludelphia is forced to take matters into her own hands the day her desperately ill and pregnant mother goes into labor. Her father and brother are working in the fields, and 10-year-old Ludelphia and her neighbor, 16-year-old Etta Mae, must deliver the baby. While the baby is born healthy, Ludelphia's mother begins coughing up blood. Ludelphia refuses to give up and heads out for Camden and Doc Nelson, 40 miles away, hoping for a miracle. All the while she has her quilt piece and needle in her d ...more
Scarlett Sims
I received my copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads.

Ludelphia Bennett has lived in the small, impoverished community of Gee's Bend for her entire life. When her mother gets sick and no one in town can do anything to help, Ludelphia must seek help from a world she knows nothing about. Irene Latham's middle-grade novel tells an exciting story, as well as bringing to light a community and a culture than many readers know nothing about. The way the quilting culture is incorporated
Jul 13, 2012 Linda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-2112, middle-ya
Leaving Gee’s Bend, by Irene Latham, who blogs at LIVE YOUR POEM...( is a story of a young girl whose strong voice is the touchstone of this book. Irene has brought to life a character so real that it’s hard to believe she’s a fictional young woman that does such courageous things for her family. Ludelphia Bennett is only ten years old, but she takes such steps into adulthood as helping her mother deliver her new little sister, then going away from Gee’s Bend to ...more
Abby Johnson
Jan 09, 2010 Abby Johnson rated it liked it
Shelves: blogged
It's 1932 and life isn't easy in the small town of Gee's Bend, Alabama, but Ludelphia gets by, stitching her quilts and helping her mother with the chores. Then Ludelphia's mama gets sick. Very sick. And since there's no doctor in Gee's Bend, Ludelphia only has one choice - to leave Gee's Bend and travel the 40 miles to Camden in search of help. It's no easy feat and what happens to Ludelphia on her journey will change her - and the town of Gee's Bend - forever.

The story was inspired by actual
Patricia O'Sullivan
Jan 21, 2012 Patricia O'Sullivan rated it really liked it
Ten-year-old Ludelphia Bennett has never left Gee’s Bend, a sharecropping village on the Alabama River. But her mother is deathly ill and Ludelphia feels it is her fault, having let an accused witch tend to Mama while she gave birth to baby Rose. So, with just her sewing needle, thread and a few scrap patches in the pocket of her apron, Ludelphia sets out for the closest town to ask the white doctor for help. Quilting calms her when there is trouble, and Ludelphia feels the need to quilt a lot i ...more
Feb 06, 2010 Paula rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
This beautifully written book is as good as it gets. A wonderful historical fiction novel, Leaving Gee's Bend provides a window into the share cropping South of the early 20th Century. Lathan writes strong believable characters that leave the reader sobbing with their loss, rejoicing with their triumphs, and wanting much more when the tale is over.

This book is perfect for Middle School age children and would be an excellent novel study for the classroom. It's complex look at the world shows hu
Feb 19, 2011 Chip rated it liked it
My child brought this book home after the author visited his school. He read it and still talks about it occasionally. I am impressed that he was distraught when a secondary character dies... he hasn't shown that level of emotional attachment to a character in a book before! Aside from a couple of technical points the book tells a good story. I would have liked more depth, more background, more of how the incident at Gee's Bend impacted the national consciousness... more context, in other words. ...more
Feb 21, 2011 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: young-adult
The fictional Ludelphia Bennett lives in Gee's Bend, Alabama, a real town famous for it's quilts and quilters. I recently read about this town when a local theater group put on a play about it and I checked out a pile of books from the library. Ludelphia has a lot of problems for a 10 year old. She's making a quilt for her pregnant mother and each piece tells part of her story. She pricks her thumb, and when it stops bleeding she thinks, "If only evertything else was that easy to fix. Mama alwa ...more
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Irene Latham is a poet and novelist who was born the middle child and first daughter of five kids.

Irene has lived all sorts of places and traveled worldwide. Since 1984 she has called Birmingham, Alabama, home.

She thinks growing up with three brothers was great preparation for raising her three sons. She also thinks getting a sister was one of the best things that has ever happened to her.

Irene i
More about Irene Latham...

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