Leaving Gee's Bend

A Novel

Title Details

Pages: 192

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 03/01/2017

ISBN: 9-781-5883-8332-7

List Price: $11.95


NewSouth Books

Leaving Gee's Bend

A Novel

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Awards

SIBA Book Award Finalist | Alabama Library Association Children's Book of the Year

Ludelphia Bennett may be blind in one eye, but that doesn't mean she can't put in a good stitch. In fact, Ludelphia sews all the time, especially when things are going wrong. But when Mama gets deathly ill, it doesn't seem like even quilting will help. Mama needs medicine badly—medicine that can only be found in Camden, over forty miles away. That's when Ludelphia decides to do something drastic—leave Gee's Bend. Beyond the cotton fields of her small sharecropping community, Ludelphia discovers a world she never imagined, but there's also danger lurking for a young girl on her own.

Beyond the log cabins, orange dirt, and cotton fields of her small sharecropping community, Ludelphia discovers a world she could never have imagined. Fancy houses, cars, and even soda pop! But there's also danger lurking for a young girl on her own, and Ludelphia begins to wonder if she'll ever see Gee's Bend or her mama again. Despite the twists and turns, Ludelphia weathers each challenge in a way that would maker her mama proud, and she may even save the day for not just Mama, but her entire town.

Set in 1932 and inspired by the rich quilting traditions of Gee's Bend, Alabama, Leaving Gee's Bend is a delightful story of a young girl facing a brave new world, presented in a new paperback edition. The book was 2011 Alabama Library Association Book of the Year and a SIBA Book Award finalist. Book Page calls it "captivating, a tale that will stay with the reader forever."

Leaving Gee's Bend by Irene Latham shows that a rural black farming community may be poor in possessions but is still rich in what matters most: courage, loyalty, and love.

—Huntsville Times

Ludelphia Bennett reaffirms the human spirit and defines survival in this beautifully stitched quilt of a novel.

—Richard Peck, author of A Season of Gifts

The story soars due to Latham’s lovely prose and Ludelphia Bennett, its wonderfully spunky heroine.

—Atlanta Journal-Constitution


SIBA Book Awards, Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance


Crystal Kite Award, Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators, Southwest Region


IndieNext Kids List Spring, IndieBound


Children's Book of the Year, Alabama Library Association


10 Favorite Novels by Alabama Authors Set in Alabama, Huntsville Times


Notable Children's Book, Association for Library Service to Children


Best Book, Bank Street College of Education


Kentucky Bluegrass Award, Kentucky Association of School Librarians

About the Author/Editor

The daughter of a seamstress, IRENE LATHAM lives in Birmingham, Alabama. Since Leaving Gee's Bend was first released in 2010, she has given hundreds of presentations about Gee's Bend, its history, art, and people. Winner of the 2016 International Literacy Association-Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award, she is passionate about helping others write their poems and stories. For curriculum connections and additional information, please visit irenelatham.com.