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Most Loved in All the World

by Tonya Cherie Hegamin
Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera

Published by Houghton Mifflin / Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2009
32 pages
ISBN: 978-0-618-41903-6

Ages 6 - 9

A stirring picture book punctuated by the sharp pain of slavery is grounded by the sense of immense love between an African American mother and child. The young narrator describes the hardship of their lives: “Tonight when Mama come home / she have whip marks ’cross her back…” But each evening her mother is working on a quilt: “Mama smiles and whisper in my ear: ‘A log cabin means a place is safe. / This star is brightest in the sky; it’s for you to follow.’ ” Although the girl doesn’t know it, her mother is preparing her for a flight to freedom without her. Tonya Cherie Hegamin follows her powerful story with an author’s note about the Underground Railroad that includes discussion of why a mother might willingly send her child away, and also disputed historical viewpoints about the use of quilts. Hegamin states that her desire was to use the symbols of quilting “as a device to share information about slavery” rather than to document the use of quilts as fact. Cozbi Cabrera provides a beautiful visual accompaniment to the story with paintings and quilt tableaus. CCBC categories: Picture Books for School-Age Children.  © Cooperative Children's Book Center

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