Title: I Lay My Stitches Down: Poems of American Slavery
Author: Cynthia Grady
Illustrator: Michele Wood
Publisher: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers
Concepts: slavery, racial inequality, social justice.
Review: Fourteen poems convey a kaleidoscope of emotions and situations experienced by enslaved people in the United States before the Civil War. Intense pain, grief, hope, and faith accompanied the forced labor, family separations, spiritual celebrations, and dreams of freedom that so many lived through. Each poem captures these ideas with a quilt block structure of ten lines of ten syllables of unrhymed verse. To add another dimension to the quilt structure, each poem has a reference to three themes: spirituality, music, and fiber arts. Enriching the artistic merit of this book are gorgeous bold paintings that further engage the reader with the historical narrative. The book provides educators and parents with an alternative art form for teaching young learners about slavery, racial inequality, and social justice.
Review by: Rutgers University Project on Economics and Children