Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt

Common Sense Media says

Enslaved girl's courage will engage older kids.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

This book introduces the concept of slavery to young children.

Violence & scariness

Clara is taken away from her mother.

Language
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this book downplays the horrors of slavery in consideration of its young audience. Children will become engrossed in the expressive paintings and the tale of a heroine's determination to reach freedom and find her mother.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Taken from her mother at a young age, Sweet Clara dreams of returning to her mother and escaping slavery. With scraps of cloth, she finds a way to sew to freedom. Through this true story, Clara's courage and dedication to reach freedom will engage older children.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

"It was like being in a dream you already dreamed," explains Sweet Clara as she follows the landmarks to freedom that other slaves had told her about, landmarks she had sewn into her freedom quilt. Clara's determination is a trait all listeners will admire. Deborah Hopkinson writes in a compelling and confident voice this true story of a slave girl who sews a map on a quilt. Listeners feel as if they are inside Clara's head, hoping and working to freedom.

Harsh facts about slavery, such as beatings of runaways, are appropriately downplayed in this book aimed at young listeners. The textured paintings by James Ransome add richness and depth to the story. Visible brush strokes and warm tones are used to express the dignity and sadness of the slaves. When Aunt Rachel's hand traces the path of Clara's stitches on the freedom quilt, one can imagine the feel of the fabric under her fingertips.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about Sweet Clara's courage. What was at risk for her as she sewed her quilt and later as she fled? Parents also can start a discussion about how slavery disrupted families, with consequences reverberating through generations.

Book details

Author:Deborah Hopkinson
Illustrator:James Ransome
Genre:Historical Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Knopf
Publication date:January 1, 1993
Number of pages:32

This review of Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Teen, 13 years old Written bytreeman1234 April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools