Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Show Way

 Written: Jacqueline Woodson

First line: When Soonie’s great-grandma was seven, she was sold from the Virginia land to a plantation in South Carolina without her ma or pa but with some muslin her ma had given her.

Why you should read this book: This reconstructed narrative takes the knowledge the author has of her own ancestral history and combines it with a poetic voice and a story about freedom, equality, risk, and quilt making. From the unnamed ancestor who learned how to sew “Show Way,” beautiful quilts that secretly hid in them maps that slaves could use to escape to the north and freedom, the story spills down through the ages, marking the birth of girl child after girl child, learning how to sew, dreaming of a better day. Eventually freedom comes, along with the knowledge of reading and writing, but, in the author’s family, the habit of sewing stars from fabric to create knowledge and history and meaning, is ingrained.

Why you shouldn’t read this book: You don’t have anything to pass on to your kids.

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