Thursday, January 30, 2014

Nine Terrific Stories for Young Students About Quilts

      “When Luka’s grandmother makes a traditional Hawaiian quilt for her, she and Luka disagree over the colors it should include.” This story, "Luka's Quilt," illustrates the importance of maintaining individuality and creativity during the practices of traditional observance. An excellent story to read aloud for discussions with primary age students about tolerance for the young and respect for the old.
       Lily Rose and her grandmother stitch together a quilt that tells a story about their move to California in a covered wagon in "The Elephant Quilt." They see the buffalo, make friends with Native Americans, and Rose’s mother gives birth to a little sister, Gila. Like so many quilters, the author pieces together many scraps of memory found in letters and diaries in order to tell a story that reflects American pioneer history. This book  is best used within the context of story telling through the art of everyday people  doing ordinary activities.
      "Amina’s Blanket" by Helen Dunmore is a chapter book for ages 8 – 10. “As Josie and other children in her class make a beautiful patchwork quilt to send to a war-torn country, Amina shivers alone in her darkened apartment in a country far away. One night in a dream, Josie visits Amina, experiences the traumas of war, and discovers a very special secret.” An excellent story imparting the necessity of teaching human empathy, Amina’s Blanket would be a perfect chapter book to include along with a classroom project focusing on a charity.
      "In The Patchwork Path," by Bettye Stroud, a father and daughter escape slavery by interpreting a secret code hidden in the symbols of a quilt.
“The Patchwork Path is based on a story given to Jacqueline Tobin by African-American quilter Ozella McDaniel Williams at the historic Charleston, South Carolina, marketplace in 1994. The story, about how slaves used quilts to communicate on the Underground Railroad, had been passed down orally from grandmother to mother to daughter. The story was held secret in Ozella’s family until she insisted that Jacqueline “write this down.”
      . . .  This book is testament to the ingenuity and creativity of the many slaves who risked everything to gain their freedom.”
 In ‘Mooshka’ by Julie Paschkis, Karla has a magic story-telling quilt that tells her bedtime stories at night, hides her from scary things under the bed and wakes her for pancakes in the morning. But, Mooshka, that’s the quilt’s name, fall silent when Karla’s sister Hannah is moved into her room. Read more about this special quilt to discover how Karla brings the quilt back to life again for Hannah.
      ‘Papa and the Pioneer Quilt’ by Jean Van Leeuwen is the charming story of the “wandering foot” quilt design.  A small girl with a very large family wanders the United States frontier with her parents in search of the perfect land to settle. On her last journey to Oregon, her mother teachers her to collect fabrics and reuse them to design a quilt.
      "Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt" by Deborah Hopkinson is based upon stories surrounding the underground railroad. The book is about a young slave girl’s determination to change her status from working the fields to sewing for her master’s wife. After learning to sew she eventually quilts a map to freedom for herself, her family, and also for future generations of slaves who would be willing to risk running from the same plantation. 
      "Under the Quilt of Night," by Deborah Hopkinson was written as a companion book to ‘Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt’ by the same author. It’s text is written in verse and describes the emotions and physical challenges experienced by slaves fleeing their former masters. 
       "The Quilt Story" written by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Tomie dePaola is about the generations of children and their pets who love a quilt. The quilt has sewn into it, the name of it's first owner, Abigail. Abigail's quilt is used for tea parties, dress up, and even hide and seek. Children of all ages will be charmed by Tomie dePaola's illustrations. I've included below an interview with this famous children's illustrator and also links to other websites about about him. 
Artist Tomie dePaola talks about the importance 
of picture books to children.

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