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I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery

by Cynthia Grady
Illustrated by Michele Wood

Published by Eerdmans, 2012
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-8028-5386-8

Age 9 and older

An eloquently written and illustrated volume features poems crafted out of the tradition of quilting and the tragedy of slavery. Each poem, named for a quilt block, is comprised of ten lines of ten syllables each to mimic a (quilt)block-like structure. Poet Cynthia Grady incorporated a biblical/spiritual reference, a musical reference, and a sewing/fiber arts reference into each poem, to reflect the three layers of a quilt. Her words and imagery seam the poems with threads of pain and hope. Michele Woods’ stunning illustrations incorporate the specific quilt block motif of each poem while giving beautiful face and form to its subject. Each page-spread features the poem and a brief paragraph of information about its content on one side, and a stirring, full-page painting on the other. An informative introduction, as well as a rich author’s note and illustrator’s note are included, along with references. (MS) ©2012 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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