Under the Quilt of Night by Deborah Hopkinson. il James Ransome.
Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster: NY, 2001.

A young slave girl leads her loved ones as they run from slavery. Running through the night, crouching behind bushes through the day. She sees a quilt that might designate a safe house on the Underground Railroad and bravely goes forward to knock. The group hides at the house and is helped the rest of the way to freedom.

I remember years ago being struck by the beauty and strength of the poetic prose and the paintings. The illustrations are vivid (though dark tones) and dramatic, depicting the danger, caution, courage, and determination of the circumstances. Despite the dark situation, there is a strong sense of hope in the book. The whole presentation is beautiful. You can't pick a better book for the feeling of what it would be like to be hunted and racing to freedom.

The connection to quilts is loose. The quilt is a metaphor for the night, and fugitives' success hinges on whether the quilt is interpreted correctly (or if the quilt is actually a signal or not). A seemingly small detail which is all important. The end pages are of the quilt as well.

related-Underground Railroad, slavery, fugitive slaves, Afro-Americans, quilts, United States history
RL=2nd-5th, I would definitely use for classes up through 5th, publisher recommends for ages 5-10

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