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The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom

4.25  ·  Rating details ·  326 Ratings  ·  78 Reviews
"An exciting story about a girl and her father who escape slavery. . . . Works well as a story and also as a lesson in African-American history." — SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL

Now that Hannah’s papa has decided to make the run for freedom, her patchwork quilt is not just a precious memento of Mama — it’s a series of hidden clues that will guide them along the Underground Railroa
Paperback, 32 pages
Published August 28th 2007 by Candlewick Press (first published 2005)
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Mariah Roze
Apr 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Hannah learned to make patchwork quilts when she was very young. Her father decides to make the run for freedom and she has one of her patchwork quilts become a precious memento of her mom. The quilt is a series of hidden clues that will guide them along the Underground Railroad to Canada. This is a story that tells of the thousands of slaves that took the dangerous journey to freedom.

This book is for older elementary and higher.
Blake Hargett
Oct 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved everything about this book! First, the text was beautifully written. All throughout the book, the use of vivid, descriptive language mirrors the artfully produced pictures. Though it did not win the Caldecott Award, I believe that it should have. Erin Bennett, the illustrator of the book, paints a beautiful vision of the journey to freedom from the bounds of slavery. In my classroom, I would use this book in both language arts and social studies. The story laid out only a small picture o ...more
Apr 22, 2018 added it
Shelves: week7
The book Patchwork Path is an exceptional story about a child learning how a patchwork quilt can be a family heirloom. Another book that you can compare this book to is a Secret to Freedom. In this book you learn about the Underground Railroad. In both stories you learn what each patchwork meant to the individual and the story that it told. The stories are relatable and tell a different story.
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, slavery
This was an excellent book about the underground railroad, that helped slaves escape from slavery to freedom in Canada.

I am interested in this subject, and have read other adult books about the subject. I like to sew and quilt, so that was another point of interest to me.
Lisa Carroll
Apr 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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
Apr 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This historical fiction picture book is a must read for all upper elementary school classrooms! With beautiful illustrations, a heart wrenching story, and historical accuracy, this tale of two family members who successfully escaped slavery on the underground railroad will grasp the attention of teachers and students alike. Even though it is a picture book, it is geared more toward fourth and fifth grade and up. I love that this story does not sugarcoat the horrors of slavery but also tells the ...more
Katie F
I selected this book as my audio this week and I had the opportunity to watch it on Tumblebooks. This story was great! It is about Hannah, who is a slave on plantation in Georgia. Hannah deals with the grief of losing her mother and her sister being sold to another plantation. One night Hannah and her dad run away, bringing with them the quilt Hannah’s mother had made her. It turns out there is a secret map sewn onto the quilt, one that will lead them to freedom. They encounter many different ob ...more
I find it hard to imagine setting off with only a few things I can carry, in a terrible rainstorm so that my scent is masked. This is the story of a man and his daughter who set off to escape one stormy night. The thread that helps are the patchwork quilt squares that are symbols to help them survive, one about flying geese which means to follow because they're flying north, another that is called the "drunkard's path' that means to avoid a straight path, to walk in a zig-zag pattern, harder to ...more
Jun 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is the story of Hannah who loses her sister and mother on a slave plantation. She escapes with her father using a patchwork quilt as a map that her mother has left her. The story has vivid oil painted illustrations that display the expressions of the characters as they continue on their journey.

I read this text digitally on Tumblebooks and the illustrations were clear and able to be enjoyed. Some features of the online story book were when the narrator read a sentence, it turned red so the
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: quilting, easy
It was interesting to see what the patchwork blocks represented on the path to freedom.
Jan 19, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
Jessica Gilligan
Sep 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
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
Apr 03, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
In the story The Patchwork Path, the representation of language, culture, setting, and relationships are accurate. The language used in the story is appropriate according to the period of time and socio-cultural (slavery) in the United States. Hanna and her family suffered as many other slaves family separations, unfairly actions, and so many injustices and people wanted to escape looking fro freedom. The relationships between the characters are clearly described in the story and represents diff ...more
Bethany Mcguirk
Sep 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
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
Amanda Behrends
Sep 12, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: libs-642
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
Ruby Choe
Oct 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Sarah Alexander
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
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
Fara Carson
Aug 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: libs-642
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
Sep 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: tled-642
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
Oct 30, 2013 added it
Shelves: african-american
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
Jo Oehrlein
Dec 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: picture-books
I like that the story made the path to freedom take a while. Too often it seems like it was just a short journey.

They hide in one place that is still easy to access today, which is cool, especially if you live there.

I was surprised that they carried the little quilt with them. Of all the stuff to carry on their journey, that seems odd. It could just be the way the illustration was drawn -- with it out and unfolded. If things were wrapped in it, it would have seemed fine.

The book is based on a st
Jan 27, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mc-literature
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
Brittany Newton
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
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
Christine Mccurley
Sep 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: libs-642
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
What a gem! The Patchwork Path is about a young girl named Hannah, born a slave in Georgia, that has a quilt that she and her mother made before her mother died. She told Hannah that the quilt will tell her everything she needs to know to run to freedom.

I have heard of these quilts before, but unfortunately, I have never seen one. I find it wonderful that individuals that were treated as nothing more than animals, can come up with an intricate concept to free themselves from bondage. This book
Amber Adams
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-2, writers-craft
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
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
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
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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