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Cover for Etched in Clay

Etched in Clay

The Life of Dave, Enslaved Potter and Poet

Andrea Cheng, Andrea Cheng (Illustrator)


List Price: 17.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (3/6/2018)


The acclaimed biography-in-verse about the life and times of Dave, an enslaved potter who inscribed his works with short poems during the years leading up to the Civil War.

Sometime before 1818, an enslaved young man named Dave was brought to Edgefield, in the heart of South Carolina's pottery-producing area. From the time he was first taught to turn a potter's wheel, Dave showed exceptional natural talent. Soon he was creating pieces of great beauty and often massive size. He also learned to read and write, even though South Carolina had laws prohibiting slave literacy. And then Dave did something even more daring: he began to sign his jars and carve many of them with sayings and short poems that reflected his daily life and experiences. With these courageous acts, Dave quietly protested the brutality of slavery and asserted his humanity.

Here is an evocative portrait of Dave as memorable as one of his jars. Through simple yet powerful poetry, including some of Dave's inscriptions, we learn his extraordinary story of perseverance, creative inspiration, and hope. Today Dave's legacy lives on in the artistry of his pottery, in his intriguing words, and as a reminder of the dignity and resilience of the human spirit.

Lee & Low Books, 9781600604515, 144pp.

Publication Date: January 20, 2013

About the Author

ANDREA CHENG was the author of several award-winning and critically acclaimed books for young readers. Her works range from picture books to young adult novels, and her stories often draw on the experiences of her Hungarian relatives or her husband's Chinese family. Cheng was inspired here by Dave's heroism, courage, and creative struggle. She taught English as a Second Language at Cincinnati State Technical and Community College, and passed away in late 2015.