|Leaving Gee's Bend|
Author: Latham, Irene
Ludelphia Bennett, a determined 10-year-old African American girl in 1932 Gee's Bend, Alabama, leaves home in an effort to find medical help for her sick mother, and recounts her ensuing adventures in a quilt she is making.
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: MG
Reading Level: 4.50
Points: 7.0 Quiz: 135127
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 3-5
Reading Level: 4.30
Points: 13.0 Quiz: 48766
Common Core Standards
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Craft & Structure
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → 4.RL Integration & Knowledge of Ideas
Grade 4 → Reading → RL Literature → Texts Illustrating the Complexity, Quality, & Rang
Grade 6 → Reading → RL Literature → 6.RL Range of Reading & Level of Text Complexity
Grade 6 → Reading → CCR College & Career Readiness Anchor Standards fo
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Key Ideas & Details
Grade 8 → Reading → RL Literature → 8.RL Craft & Structure
Kirkus Reviews (-) (12/15/09)
School Library Journal (01/01/10)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (03/10)
Full Text Reviews:
School Library Journal - 01/01/2010 Gr 4–6— Blind in one eye and shouldering a fair share of work as part of a family of sharecroppers, 10-year-old Ludelphia Bennett is no stranger to hardship or determination. Though her small town of Gee's Bend is geographically isolated by the Alabama River, she sets off on her own to Camden, 40 miles away, to find a doctor for her sick mother. Constant throughout her arduous journey is a stitched-together fabric, and she both physically and mentally chronicles her experiences as she pieces a quilt together. This is the way Ludelphia tells her story, of seeing white people for the first time, of encountering kindness and hate, and it is also the way Latham pays homage to the community spirit that historically fostered a heritage of artisan quilt-makers. While there is a bit of a reliance on coincidence, what shines through is the characterization and sense of place. Rural Alabama of 1932 is brought to life, complete with characters' prejudices and superstitions that are eventually overcome thanks to Ludelphia's indomitable strength. Here is a story that is comforting and warm, just like the quilts that make Gee's Bend famous.—Joanna K. Fabicon, Los Angeles Public Library - Copyright 2010 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.
Booklist - 02/01/2010 In Gee’s Bend, Alabama in 1932, 10-year-old Ludelphia’s mother nearly dies giving birth. Ludelphia takes off downriver to find a doctor in the town of Camden, 40 miles away, and in her first journey away from her tiny village, she encounters white people for the first time. The hardship of African American sharecropper families is always present in this stirring historical debut, and so is the rich sense of community in rough times, although that community does include sometimes malicious local gossip. Inspired by her mama, Ludelphia stitches together a quilt that tells her story, and that intricate process of quilt making sometimes becomes a too-heavy metaphor. Still, Ludelphia’s voice is authentic and memorable, and Latham captures the tension of her dangerous journey and the racism she encounters when a white, mentally disturbed landowner’s widow takes everything from the sharecroppers as repayment for their debt. In a final note, Latham talks about the history of Gee’s Bend and its rich quilting traditions. - Copyright 2010 Booklist.
Bulletin for the Center... - 03/01/2010 Life in 1932 rural Alabama is no picnic for African-American sharecroppers, such as the family of ten-year-old Ludelphia Bennett, who are trying to scrape by on their tiny farm in Gee’s Bend. Ludelphia doesn’t seem to mind her meager surroundings as long as she can sew quilts with her mother, but when Mama falls ill with pneumonia, Ludelphia leaves the only place she has ever known to retrieve lifesaving medicine from a town nearly forty miles away, confronting prejudice and superstition along the way. Based on real people and events, the story rings true with its quiet sense of place, and Ludelphia’s narration echoes the tradition of storytelling in quiltmaking, a nod to the famous Gee’s Bend quilting history. While most of the secondary characters are fairly simple, Ludelphia’s voice carries the reader through a treacherous landscape with determined vibrancy, adding a dash of adventure and mischief to an otherwise harrowing tale. The conclusion is at once happy and realistic-the family knows that even with Mama’s recovery and supplies from the Red Cross, the winter will still be hard-making this an enjoyable piece of fiction about an undertreated aspect of American history. KQG - Copyright 2010 The Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois.