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A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859 (Dear America)
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A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859

(Dear America)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  4,494 ratings  ·  241 reviews
Day or two later

Freedom is one of the first words I teached myself to write. Down in the Quarters people pray for freedom - they sing 'bout freedom, but to keep Mas' Henley from knowin' their true feelings, they call freedom "heaven." Everybody's mind is on freedom.

But it is a word that aine never showed me no picture. While fannin' this afternoon, my eyes fell on "freedom

...more
Hardcover, 195 pages
Published March 1st 1997 by Scholastic Inc.
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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  4,494 ratings  ·  241 reviews


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Start your review of A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, Belmont Plantation, Virginia 1859 (Dear America)
Eva Marie
Mar 16, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-fiction
It's very rare for me to to feel the way I did reading this book since it's a work of fiction. How often does a person find a fictional book and actually get so into it that it seems real? Maybe that's because it's so easy to realize that Clotee, along with the rest of the characters, WERE real..somewhere, sometime, these fictional characters were probably right on the mark.
This is another book that would be a great one to give to a younger reluctant reader. I'm so happy I read it- it's so wort
...more
Olivia Abbott
Jan 21, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This book is a diary of a girl named Clotee. She is a slave who learns to read and write from fanning her Master's son during his lessons. This is probably one of the best books i have ever read. It is SO good. ...more
Becca Buckman
Oct 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
Dear America: The Diary of Clotee, a Slave Girl, A Picture of Freedom by Patricia C. McKissack is an inspirational story told through the eyes and feelings of a fourteen-year-old slave girl living on the Belmont Plantation in Virginia in 1859. Clotee dreams of freedom and always wonders if she will be able to see the real picture depicting the true meaning of the powerful word. Clotee spends most of her nights writing in her diary and dreams of the day she can become an abolitionist to help free ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Sally Kruger aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

It is 1859 in Virginia. Clotee lives on Belmont Plantation and serves Mas' Henley. She feels lucky because she doesn't have to work in the fields like many of the other slaves. Her job is to attend the lessons Mas' Henley's wife teaches to her two children.

When the weather is warm, Clotee's job is to fan the children as they work on their studies. The thing is, Clotee doesn't simply keep the children cool; she also watches over thei
...more
Chiara
Nov 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i started to read this book because i have read many different diary formed books and i had heard from my friend that this was a book i needed to read.
the category i put this book in was that it was written by a female, whoms name is Patricia C. McKissack.
the things i liked about this book was that it made me realise all the things that slaves that were africian american had went through in those days because of all the experiences that they had gone through. another favourite thing i loved was
...more
Rebecca
Apr 01, 2009 rated it it was amazing
The year is 1859. Clotee has lived all twelve years of her life as a slave on the Belmont Plantation in Virginia. Although she has known no life other than that of a slave, she has secretly learned how to read and write, and that ability gives her a glimpse of the world out there. To practice, she keeps a secret diary that she hides in a hollowed-out tree. An orphan most of her life, Clotee has managed to make the best of her circumstances, and writing is one of the few things that brings her an ...more
Beka
Jun 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I realize this is a children's book, but I had another one of the books in the Dear America series as a child that I loved dearly and just recently found out there were many more. This one felt like required reading and I was right. It feels wrong to say a book written from the perspective of a slave is "excellent," but it should genuinely be required reading for all. For kid-friendly font size and wording, it was absolutely gripping. After that epilogue, I spent a lot of time trying to fig ...more
Katieb (MundieMoms)
This is one of the most fascinating books I've read in the Dear America series. Twelve year old Clotee is a true heroine in every sense of the word. Her journal gives a vivid detail of what slavery is like in the year 1859 and what it's like for those trying to free those who are forced into a life serving others.

What I found most fascinating about Clotee, is her quest for knowledge and an education. She yearns for Freedom and in so doing, she helped saved the lives of other slaves and become a
...more
Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids
This is one of the most fascinating books I've read in the Dear America series. Twelve year old Clotee is a true heroine in every sense of the word. Her journal gives a vivid detail of what slavery is like in the year 1859 and what it's like for those trying to free those who are forced into a life serving others.

What I found most fascinating about Clotee, is her quest for knowledge and an education. She yearns for Freedom and in so doing, she helped saved the lives of other slaves and become a
...more
Ana Mardoll
Mar 30, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ana-reviewed
Picture of Freedom (Virginia Plantation) / 0-590-25988-1

The history here is correct and the Dear America diary format works well for personalizing a very complex and difficult period of history. The narrator is remarkably easy to identify with, and her love of learning and yearning to read is tangible. Her narrative reminds us what a privilege it is just to be able to read. The author has to bend over backwards to justify how a slave can safely keep a diary, when the very idea of such a thing is
...more
chucklesthescot
This is another from the My Story fictional book series where a historical event is written in the form of a diary from someone who was witnessing it. Here we have a 12 year old girl who witnesses all the horrors of slavery and cruelty against her friends, while hope arrives in the form of a man with connections to the Underground Railway which takes slaves to freedom.

It gives you an idea of just how much work the slaves had to do, even the children. Clotee is a house slave who works very long h
...more
Jocelyne Jam
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Based on true historical facts, the book, presented in the form of a diary chronicles the story a young slave girl, Clotee. Clotee grows up on the plantation of her owner, Mas' Henley where she learns to read and write while fanning his son, William during his daily lessons. During this time, she learns new words, freedom being the most important of them all. We follow her journey as she learns what true freedom really is, even as she learns that everything isn't black and white; both racially a ...more
LobsterQuadrille
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: anyone interested in history
For anyone who wants to dip into the Dear America series but doesn't want to read all forty-something books, A Picture of Freedom should be one of the stories to read if you just want to try a few of them. I can hardly believe how much I had forgotten of Clotee's story; Patricia C. McKissack brings the story and characters wonderfully to life through Clotee's narration. The interactions between Clotee, the other slaves, and the plantation owners are vivid, complex and believable. The message of ...more
Abi Abzisstory
Nov 21, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had been wanting to read some historical fiction for a while but not the same romantic love story over again. I found the 'my story series' and I love them!
Set in 1859, it is written in diary form and tells of Clotee a slave who is learning to read and write in secret. Most words she can associate with pictures, but 'freedom is just a word'. Through the novel she tries to understand the word freedom and gain a picture to go along with that word as she tries to free herself from slavery.
At the
...more
Erin
Jun 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing
By far the best book in the Dear America series that Five of Hearts and I have read so far. The writing is absolutely phenomenal! Patricia C. McKissack's character of Clotee comes to life so beautifully that it was hard not to become completely engrossed in her story. Five of Hearts has read the Addy (American Girl) series so we have previously discussed slavery in the United States. However, A Picture of Freedom gave a detailed account of life on a plantation for a young slave. There were many ...more
Taylor
Mar 27, 2011 added it
I thought the book was quite interesting because of they way the book follows an ordinary slave girl. I loved to read about her progress as a reader, and (view spoiler) ...more
Alyssa
Mar 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
I liked this Dear America book much better then the Oregon Trail one. The main character seemed much more real and I loved her thirst for knowledge. There were a few parts that were somewhat violent and depressing but considering this book is about a slave girl in the south, I found it very positive and uplifting. I was also pleasantly surprised to read at the end that it was based on a true story and the main character really did live and do the things the book talks about. Very good book for o ...more
Fives OnTheFly
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Our favorite book so far in the Diary of America series. "A Picture of Freedom" is an exceptionaly well written account of a young slave's life on a Virginia Plantation. Five of Hearts and I were hooked from the first page and finished this diary in just a few readings. As with any account of slavery there were some horrific parts to read to Five of Hearts. However, there were also many beautiful and inspirational moments that made up this wonderful narrative. We would definetely recommend this ...more
Courtney
I'll admit that sometimes I have a heart of stone, and I rarely emotionally connect with books. But this book hit me right in the feels. I became so immersed in this book and with the characters that it was like being on an emotional rollercoaster. The plot flowed seamlessly and the characters really seemed to come to life. This is a great book that is both heartbreaking and inspiring and overall very thought provoking. It is definitely one of the best books in the Dear America series. Highly re ...more
carolyn
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
This is a very quick read, but I enjoyed it. It is written in a diary format by a little slave girl named Clotee. It tells about how she taught herself to read and write (which is why she started her diary), and also about some of the things that slaves endured. She actually had the chance to run away and escape slavery but instead remained on the plantation and became an abolitionist so she could help other slaves escape to their freedom. A story about a very strong young lady.
Rpejack
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
It was a really good book. It was writen like a diary in the point of view of a slave girl on a southern plantation. Since it was written in the point of veiw of a girl the age of 12 or 13 it helped me relate to the main character. At the begining it can be a little slow at first but then it gets way more interesting. It is an easy read. The story is only 172 pages long. There are 28 more pages of historical notes after the story.It has medium sized font. It is a Historical fiction book.
Irene
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
This book is good if you like to be bored. I didnt enjoy it at all. It might be the fact that i read the book mostly at night but i found it hard not to fall asleep. Its i think meant for 5th-7th graders because i remember seeing it when i was a kid in my elementary school library. That also migt of contrubuted to my bordem, maybe im too old now. But al in all i dont likeit, but im sure someone elce will.
Amy
Sep 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
I like the series Dear America. I picked this book up at a yard sale for a quarter, and I expected about a dollar's worth. It was surprisingly not just good, but great! I loved the way the author progressed the story along by educating Clotee, thus Clotee's diary progressed and became more well-written. A great, short read. ...more
Reggie Virus
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I cried finishing this. It’s insane that white people really were able to have slaves and thought they were happy being a slave. To be able to abuse them mentally and physically and get away with it. I’m glad there was the Underground Railroad and that abolitionist did what they could to free these slaves. Clotee maybe be fictional, but she existed all over and is real.
Ardent Reader
Dec 15, 2016 rated it it was amazing
An inspirational story where a slave girl learns how to read and write while fanning her master's son during his lessons and finally achieving her dream of "FREEDOM".
...more
Courtney
Aug 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this when I was in elementary school. LOVED it!
Elena
Sep 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. Really good and insightful. Highly recommended if you like slow books with an amazing plot line.
Christie
Sep 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I must have read this 10 times as a kid, but I'm so glad that I re-read this as an adult because I feel like I understood the historical significance so much more.

The fact that it's told from the perspective of a 12 year old is really the only reason this is a children's book. It definitely doesn't shy away from depicting some pretty tragic events and the pacing and story arc are so well written.

I loved the narrative style (it's written in diary form) firstly because it makes for a super quick
...more
Celine
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A Picture of Freedom by Patricia C. McKissack is a fictional book. It is about a slave girl named Clotee who is learning to read and write secretly. She has many bumps on her path to learn to read and write. The only way she is able to do this is by being able not keep her job fanning her Master's son. But in doing so another slave girl named Missy rats on her, which puts her and many other slaves in danger.
I strongly suggest that you read this book, it tells us about our history in a new way.
...more
Rosa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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Patricia C. McKissack was the Newbery Honor, Coretta Scott King Award-winning author of The Dark-Thirty and Porch Lies an ALA Notable Book. She collaborated with Jerry Pinkney on Goin' Someplace Special (Coretta Scott King Award winner) and Mirandy and Brother Wind (Coretta Scott King Award winner and Caldecott Honor Book). ...more

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