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Leaving Gee's Bend

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  457 ratings  ·  115 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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4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  457 ratings  ·  115 reviews

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Steph Su
Oct 15, 2009 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
Kimberly Derting
Aug 15, 2009 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
Margo Tanenbaum
Aug 13, 2010 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
Nov 29, 2010 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
Evelyn S
Feb 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Leaving gees bend was an amazing book. It had a great balance between troubles and triumphs.
This book is about a young girl living in gees bend named Ludelpgua Bennett. This book takes place in 1932, in gees bend. gees bend is a small African American farming town. the people there are poor, so when ludelpguas mother gets really sick there is no one there to help her. then ludelpgua goes out of gees bend to try and find the mom medicine she is met with many different challenges.
This book did
Oct 30, 2010 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
Joyce Lansky
Feb 19, 2011 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
Colby Sharp
Nov 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I was mezmorized by Irene's story. A must read for lovers of historical fiction.
I read this book because it was mentioned in my children's literature textbook as an example of figurative language use in a book to convey meaning and emotional intensity. This book certainly does have lovely language and is written beautifully. It is from the POV of a 10 year old girl who is growing up as a sharecropper's daughter in 1932. She lives in an insular community that is separated by a large river from its nearest neighboring town. After her mother gets very sick, she takes it upon h ...more
Carolyn Breckinridge
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Irene Latham's young adult novel, 'Leaving Gee's Bend,' is exquisitely written. Set during the depression years, this book weaves fiction and historical fact in a magical way. It is one of the first books in a long time I have had difficulty putting down. For those with younger children, be advised there is a fairly graphic birth scene at the book's beginning. The main character is a ten year old girl who has the emotional strength, courage and determination to believe she can make a difference ...more
Cece Reed
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’ve been interested in Gee’s Bend for quite a few years. My grandmother taught me and my sisters how to quilt about 20 years ago and I’ve always loved all things about quilting. Although I have not yet visited here, but I will one day, this story really brought this little place to life. I will say that being familiar about this place and how it is remote as well as it’s quilting history , really adds to the enjoyment of the story. I have though met several ladies in the last few years who are ...more
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ya-titles
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
a young adult reader’s book about the struggles of living in Gee’s Bend (which is a traveling quilt exhibit). Very easy and fun read, 230 pgs., 2010, hardback which Gabriel gave to Rita for Christmas, 2009.
Oct 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Easy read, delightful story, sad too.
Apr 05, 2011 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 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 MLIS (gladeslibrarian)
Jul 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 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
Feb 28, 2010 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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 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 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.
Sep 12, 2011 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
Feb 16, 2010 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 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 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to GoldenjoyBazyll by: Betsy brought it back from a conference
Shelves: fiction, children
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 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
Abby Johnson
Jan 09, 2010 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
Jul 13, 2012 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
Patricia O'Sullivan
Jan 21, 2012 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
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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