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A Picture of Freedom: The Diary of Clottee, a Slave Girl Hardcover – Mar 1997

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Hardcover, Mar 1997
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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: Scholastic Trade (March 1997)
  • ISBN-10: 0614253861
  • ISBN-13: 978-0614253863
  • Product Dimensions: 18.3 x 14 x 2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
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Amazon.com: HASH(0xa1e5e504) out of 5 stars 75 reviews
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1ad8d44) out of 5 stars A story about the power of literacy in a slave girl's life. Aug. 4 2000
By Rebecca Herman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Clotee has lived all twelve years of her life as a slave on the Belmont Plantation in Virginia. Now it's 1859, just before the start of the Civil War. Although she has known no life other than that of a slave, she has secretly learned how to read and write, and that ability gives her a glimpse of the world out there. To practice, she keeps a secret diary that she hides in a hollowed-out tree. An orphan most of her life, Clotee has managed to make the best of her circumstances, and writing is one of the few things that brings her any joy. When a tutor comes to the plantation to teach the master's young son, Clotee figures that he'll just be another predjudiced southerner. But he's an abolitionist that further expands Clotee's horizons, and he may be able to give her the one thing she longs for: freedom. I highly reccomend this beautifully written account of one year in the life of a fictional slave girl who lived in circumstances typical of the time. The fact that it is told through Clotee's diary allows the reader to really get inside her head and know her innermost thoughts, hopes, and dreams.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1ad8dbc) out of 5 stars A touching, inspiring account of slavery March 9 2005
By Y. Swinson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book to my 7-year-old daughter and we both really enjoyed it. I thought at first the language might be slightly above her, but she was thoroughly engrossed in the story. It held her attention well enough that as we drew to the close of the book, we had a hour-long reading session while she eagerly listened.

The plot, in brief, involves 12-year-old Clotee, a slave girl on the Belmont plantation in Virginia. She has managed to teach herself to read and write while fanning her young master William during his lessons. She keeps a make-shift diary in which she records life on the plantation.

When reading to a young audience, you will want to be prepared to address a couple of issues - there is the terrible beating and subsequent death of one of the slaves. Although it is hard to read about, no accurate portrayal of slavery would be complete without such incidents. There is talk of one of the slaves who is suspected to be the son of the master. Also briefly mentioned is the issue of a white overseer who desires for himself one of the slave girls. This cannot be glossed over becuase it becomes critical later in the book in a very climactic incident. I personally felt it was a good opportunity to review "inappropriate touching" with my 7-year-old who knows the basics, but not all, of the "birds and bees".

For some, there will come the issue of whether it is okay to use dishonesty to achieve what most would call a higher cause. It makes for a good philosophical discussion. Most of the people I have talked to agree with me on this, but I have one sister-in-law who differs powerfully. In any case, and whatever your personal feelings on the issue, it would be a shame to miss this book - use is at a teaching tool.

I do think some great moral lessons are present in the book - self-restraint, personal sacrifice, restitution of wrong-doing, and many more.

One thing that I especially loved about the book was that despite the terrible circumstances of slavery which are clearly addressed in the book, you end the book with the feeling of triumph and appreciation for those who gave so much to the cause of freedom.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa19fbb34) out of 5 stars A wonderful story on a brave girl Sept. 28 2000
By Melanie - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
A Picture of Freedom is a wonderful story on slavery - the best I've read!
In 1859, 12 year old Clotee lives on the Belmont Plantation in Virginia, where she works in the "big house". She's used to hard work and obeying her master - except for one thing. Clotee teaches herself to read.
Through this diary that Clotee keeps, you follow her life, with her working and making friends, her thoughts about escaped slaves, her worries that her diary will be found, and her learning about abolitionists, who her master hates! When a teacher comes to the plantation to tutor the boy there, she finds out his secret. Can he help her?
This was a great, exciting book on a brave slave girl, and I'd recommend it for ages 10 - 14! I'd also recommend some other books on slavery, Letters from a Slave Girl, and I Thought My Soul Would Rise and Fly.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa1cdabd0) out of 5 stars It deffinately Told of how slavery was in the South. July 3 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thought the book was excellent> it protrayed a young girl growing up on a plantation in the South in the years before the civil war. It was very accurate and was true to the period. I'm 14 and most of these books are for younger children but I was just Drawn into these books and I have begun to collect them. I would deffinately recommend this book to anyone who likes historical fiction or just a good read.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I thought that A PICTURE OF FREEDOM was the best book in the Dear America series. The way that Clotee tried her best to learn to read and write was really neat. Clotee had a really hard life as a slave and the diary was very enjoyable to read because it wasn't too predictable. If you haven't read this book already, I highly recommend it along with the other books in the series.

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