Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

The Keeping Quilt

Polacco, Patricia (Author/Illustrator)
Simon & Schuster 2013. 60 pages
First published: 1988
ISBN: 9781442482371 (hardcover)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

point of view, recurring patterns

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This evocative picture book portrays both continuity and change. Young readers follow the history of an heirloom—a handmade quilt, created with a family’s old clothes from “backhome Russia.” Great-grandmother helps Patricia’s mother sew it, soon after arriving in America. Each generation’s changing customs are described through the adventures of the quilt, which is used as a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding huppa and to hold new family members: “The quilt welcomed me, Patricia, into the world . . . .”

Expressive detailed pencil drawings provide young readers with a visual history of family life. In every image, the quilt’s patterns pop with bright colours. When the quilt is meticulously reproduced, children may compare this new scene of present-day quilters, who research fabrics online, with the original quilting bee. The book ends in a crowded museum hall, where the old quilt is preserved so that future generations may continue to learn from it and enjoy its beauty. Meanwhile the author, now a grandmother, wraps a new baby in the hand-stitched reproduction of her favourite family quilt.

  •  

    Interview a family member or close friend about any traditions that took place during their wedding ceremony. Share these interviews with the class, adding photos if possible. 

  •  

    Define the word tradition. Does your family have any traditions? Write about one of them in detail. Share your story with a peer. Do you have any traditions in common?

  •  

    Trace your genealogy and present your family tree to the class. Do you have a family member who had a particularly interesting life or experience? Share his or her story with the class.

  •  

    Research the Jewish traditions mentioned in the story (Sabbath, challah, kulich, etc.).

  •  

    Discuss what the lucky symbols in the story represent. What other lucky symbols can you identify? Why is the quilt so important?

  •  

    Create a timeline showing who receives the quilt through the generations.

  •  Interview a family member about a tradition or family treasure. Bring a photo of the object to show classmates. 
  • To construct his/her identity
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Ethics and Religious Culture