Show Way

Show Way

Book - 2005
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The making of "Show ways," or quilts which once served as secret maps for freedom-seeking slaves, is a tradition passed from mother to daughter in the author's family.
Publisher: New York : G. P. Putnam's Sons, c2005
ISBN: 9780399237492
Branch Call Number: J Fiction
Characteristics: 1 v. : col. ill. ; 30 cm
Additional Contributors: Talbott, Hudson


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JCLBeckyC Apr 18, 2019

This is one of the best picture books I've ever read. Author Jacqueline Woodson pays tribute to her ancestors--the brave, creative women who, despite being enslaved, help others find freedom by stitching secret maps onto the quilts they make from scraps. After they are freed, generation after generation of women pass on not just patches of the original quilts, but a strength and tenacity to succeed in a world that too often works against them. The story ends with the present day as she gives hope to future generations by sharing these stories with her little girl Toshi, who can carry on the amazing family legacy.

IndyPL_SteveB Dec 05, 2018

Jacqueline Woodson is one of the finest African-American writers for children. *Show Way* is a picture book of the history of the women in her family. It starts with an unnamed seven year-old slave girl, sold away from her parents, and follows through several generations of mothers and daughters through freedom and the Civil Rights struggle down to Woodson’s own daughter. The theme is built around the quilts that some slaves fashioned, which contained maps and a code of how to escape to the North. That tradition was part of Woodson’s family. And of course, this story may help fill the need for many young children for the story of the African-American family as a whole.

Just as important are the stunning illustrations by Hudson Talbott, built along the quilt theme. The combination of words and pictures make for an incredibly well-designed book, which won many awards and which could be a model for beginning authors and illustrators. And maybe a model for YOU, if you want to think of a creative way to tell the stories of your own family.

DPLjosie Aug 30, 2018

Beautiful, layered story. There is so much to unpack and gain from reading this piece: slavery, oppression, yes, but also art, and joy and the beauty and storytelling that can be a part of quilting.

Jul 12, 2018

I love this book on multiple levels: as a (amateur) historian, a crafter who works with textiles, and as a parent. I read it to my five year old and he definitely got into it; the personalization of history and the images of mothers with children complement the historical events and intense themes in a way that kept him engaged without being overwhelming. Plus he loved the idea of secret maps and codes. SHOW WAY pairs well with books on Harriet Tubman and the civil rights movement.

LMcShaneCLE Feb 21, 2013

Using this book for a program on quilts and the tradition in African-American families:

Feb 03, 2013

This book is a good book to read for those learning about traditions being passed down. When explaining traditions to your child or students, this is a good example to use in order for them to fully understand. The book is clear and easy to understand which will not confuse children of age. This book also explains how the particular tradition was created and passed down from generation to generation. This is a very good read for students who are learning about slavery and ways in which slaves knew how which direction to go when they were attempting to head North.


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Feb 03, 2013

StaceyLB thinks this title is suitable for 12 years and over


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Feb 03, 2013

There were traditions of stitching patterns in quilts that were started during slavery in order to help other slaves escape to the North. The traditions were passed down through the author's family and were eventually used for different purposes.


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Feb 03, 2013

"...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."


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