Priscilla and the Hollyhocks
Product Code: 16755
Binding Information: Hardback
Ages: 7 - 10
Grade Highest: 5th
Grade Lowest: 2nd
Availability: In stock
Based on a true story
Priscilla is only four years old when her mother is sold to another master. All Priscilla has to remember her mother by are the hollyhocks she planted by the cow pond. At age ten, Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family and continues her life as a slave. She keeps hope for a better life alive by planting hollyhocks wherever she goes. At last, her forced march along the Trail of Tears brings a chance encounter that leads to her freedom.
Includes an author's note with more details about this fascinating true story as well as instructions for making hollyhock dolls.
"Priscilla and the Hollyhocks tells a story too often ignored or overlooked — a story of how the west was not won but captured. Reading about Priscilla's remarkable life makes all our hearts a bit warmer while filling our heads with a much-needed piece of American history."
— Nikki Giovanni, poet
Listen to a review of Priscilla and the Hollyhocks at Just One More Book.
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Booklist - February 1, 2008When Priscilla's mother is sold to a new owner and the two are separated, the young slave girl finds solace in her mother's hollyhock patch. As she grows older, the kind words of a white businessman, Basil Silkwood, instill in Priscilla a desire to attend school, but she is soon sold to a Cherokee family, and her life of servitude continues. As her Native American owners embark on the grueling journey west, known as the 1838 "Trail of Tears," she again meets the compassionate Silkwood, who purchases her freedom. Alter's appealing acrylic illustrations, rendered in single- and double- page spreads and framed close-ups, elevate the emotion of the story and echo the flattened perpective and thick outlines of folk art. Based on real events, Broyles' poetic and colloquial narrative, voiced by a grown Priscilla, ends with the girl sowing the seeds of her mother's hollyhocks near her new home with the Silkwoods and an author's note detailing the historical basis of the story.
Kirkus Reviews - February 15, 2008"When I was young and still wore slavery's yoke, I was saved by hollyhocks, and a white man's kindness." So begins the tale of a little girl, born into slavery on a Georgia plantation. Her mother is sold and the only remembrance Priscilla has of her are the hollyhocks she planted. Old Syliva teaches her how to make hollyhock dolls and float them on the pond. Priscilla is soon put to work in the big house and meets a white man named Basil Silkwood, who tells her she's smart and should be in school. When the master dies, she's sold to a Cherokee family and is a part of the painful Trail of Tears march. Incredibly, on her way through a town, she recognizes Silkwood and speaks out to him. He follows the march to the encampment and buys Priscilla's freedom. She becomes part of the Silkwood family and plants the hollyhocks with these words: "Grow, I sang to the seeds. Bloom, I commanded the plants. Safe, I told myself. Home." Simple, bold colorful paintings enhance a text many young readers will be able to decipher. Historical note and instructions to make a hollyhock doll are appended.
Yellow Brick Road - March 1, 2008Priscilla, an orphaned slave child is sold and sold again. All she has to comfort her are memories of her mother, and the hollyhocks she planted. Priscilla takes the seeds wherever she goes. When bought by a Cherokee family, she later accompanies them on the Trail of Tears. A white man from her past who witnessed her slavery as a child recognizes her and buys her, to bring her to his own home as a daughter, not a slave. The lyric text and beautiful illustrations display the hope and strength in Priscilla. The tale is based on a true story, recounted in the Author's Note.
School Library Journal - March 1, 2008Over the course of 10 years, an enslaved girl works hard for two different masters. Priscilla, not even six when her mother was sold, shares a bond with Old Sylvia, who helps her remember her mother by making dolls from the hollyhocks that Priscilla's mother planted. The child's dreams of freedom unfold through descriptive language, and their intensity is strengthened by the freedom suggested by these delicate flower ladies gliding on water. While serving her first temperamental master, Priscilla meets a cheerful visitor named Massa Basil Silkwood, who takes an interest in her and does not "hold with slavery." When the first master dies, Priscilla stands on the auction block with hollyhock seeds in her apron pocket and is purchased by a Cherokee master. When the Indians are rounded up and marched along the "Trail of Tears," she again meets Silkwood, who buys her and sets her free. Raised among 15 adopted Silkwood siblings, Priscilla feels the safety of a true home where she and the hollyhocks are free to grow and bloom. Told in descriptive language accompanied by engaging acrylic paintings, this fictionalized story about a real child who found freedom in an unlikely way offers a unique perspective on slavery. No source notes are given, but an author's note adds details about Priscilla's life and the variety of hollyhocks that bear her name.
Booklinks - November 1, 2008Written in a lyrical dialect, Broyle's story of a young slave who plants hollyhocks in remembrance of her mother is based on a true story. When Priscilla is sold to a Cherokee family, she must accompany them on the grueling Trail of Tears, until a chance meeting with a compassionate business man secures her freedom. An appending author's note details the historical basis of the story.
The Looking Glass Review - February 3, 2009Priscilla was born into slavery, and when she was still a very small girl her mother was sold. Lonely and heartbroken Priscilla spent a great deal of time sitting in her favorite place next to the hollyhock flowers that her mother had planted. When she was a still a little girl Priscilla was given work to do in the “Big House” and she lived in the shadow of her often angry and cruel master. Her only safe place was in the garden with the hollyhocks. Here she would make little flower dollies that she would float across the pond.
After her master died Priscilla was sold. This time she was bought by a Native American and though he was not as cruel as Priscilla’s first master, he still treated her like a slave. Before she left her first home to live with the Cherokee Priscilla gathered up some hollyhock seeds so that she would be able to take a little of mother with her.
Then all the Native American families were rounded up and forced to move away from their homes. For more than five hundred miles Priscilla and thousands of other people walked on the Trail of Tears. Would Priscilla ever find the peace she deserved?
Based on the true story of a slave girl who was finally granted her freedom, this moving tale beautifully captures the pain and suffering that Priscilla endured. With a simple text and folk art style illustrations, this picture book highlights a painful time in America’s history, and celebrates the power of one person’s will to survive.
Mymcbooks - September 26, 2011This is a well written story based on facts. Anne Broyles takes us on a journey into Priscilla’s childhood as she is sold from one family to another until she found Massa Silkwood who set her free and adopted her into his family of fifteen. Priscilla was not only saved by Mr. Silkwood but also by hollyhocks. Old Sylvia told her how her mother will make hollyhock dolls and set it to sail on the cow pond. When she watches her flower dolls float on the cow pond she felt her mother’s smile. Is show how the flowers represented a strong memory of her mother who was sold when she was a very young child. Priscilla always had a hand full of seeds with her and planed them where ever she went. She was sold to a Cherokee family when her master died. Read about the brief history of the Cherokee as they were told to leave their homes and lands. Priscilla found freedom and a happy life thereafter. Great illustrations by Anna Alter which capture the story. I highly recommend this book for every schools and libraries.