The Keeping Quilt

( 6 )

Overview

"We will make a quilt to help us always remember home," Anna's mother said. "It will be like heaving the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night.
And so it was. From a basket of old clothes, Anna's babushka, Uncle Vladimir's shirt, Aunt Havalah's nightdress and an apron of Aunt Natasha's become The Keeping Quilt, passed along from mother to daughter for almost a century. For four generations the quilt is a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket that ...

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Overview

"We will make a quilt to help us always remember home," Anna's mother said. "It will be like heaving the family in backhome Russia dance around us at night.
And so it was. From a basket of old clothes, Anna's babushka, Uncle Vladimir's shirt, Aunt Havalah's nightdress and an apron of Aunt Natasha's become The Keeping Quilt, passed along from mother to daughter for almost a century. For four generations the quilt is a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket that welcomes babies warmly into the world.
In strongly moving pictures that are as heartwarming as they are real, patricia Polacco tells the story of her own family, and the quilt that remains a symbol of their enduring love and faith.

A homemade quilt ties together the lives of four generations of an immigrant Jewish family, remaining a symbol of their enduring love and faith.

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Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
(PreS - Gr. 2) Polacco's first-person voice moves her narrative forward gracefully from the time when her Great-Gramma Anna came to America during the last century to the present. Richly detailed charcoal drawings fill the pages of this beautifully conceived book. Particularly striking are the faces of the Russian Jewish immigrant families who people the pages. The only color used is in the babushka and dress of Great-Gramma Anna, which become part of a brightly hued quilt. Following that quilt through four generations is the basis of this account. Customs and fashions change, but family is constant, visually linked by the "keeping quilt.'' Children will be fascinated by the various uses to which the quilt is put, although some of those uses make one wonder how its "like-new'' shape was maintained. That stretch of the imagination is gentle, however, and does not mar the story. Readers who notice that the author and the narrator share the same name may realize that this lovely story is true; that should make it even more appealing. -- Lee Bock, Brown County Public Libraries, Green Bay, Wis.
School Library Journal
(K - Gr. 3) The changes in this revised edition of a book originally published in 1988 are subtle. The story recounts Polacco's great-grandmother's arrival in this country from Eastern Europe. Her dress and babushka become part of a quilt that has been handed down from generation to generation in the author's family. This book is special for the values it conveys, for the family traditions and the changes to them that it describes, and for the intergenerational love it portrays. Although alterations to the text are slight, eight new pages have been added, as the author traces the presence of the quilt at the birth of her own children and the death of her mother, and ends with the promise of continuing the cycle. The endpapers are enhanced with more decoration and the pages are white as opposed to cream colored, resulting in a brighter, cheerier mood. As before, only the quilt is shown in color; black-and-white pencil drawings in Polacco's distinctive, folksy style convey the drama as it unfolds. The portraits are wonderfully expressive, depicting both joy and sadness as the occasion demands. Do these revisions warrant purchase of this new edition if a collection already holds sufficient copies of the old one? Probably not. However, those libraries that do not already own multiple copies of this wonderful book will want to take this opportunity to stock their shelves. --Linda Greengrass, Bank Street College Library, New York City
From the Publisher
School Library Journal Richly detailed charcoal drawings fill the pages of this beautifully conceived book...children will be fascinated by the various uses to which the quilt is put...

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter One of the most attractive and well-conceived picture books seen in recent years...It has a surprisingly emotional impact.

Booklist Useful for the sense of history it presents to young viewers (especially in discussions of geneaology), this tale also carries a warm message on the meaning of family...

Children's Literature - Lois Rubin Gross
In the twenty-five years since The Keeping Quilt first appeared, Patricia Polacco has created an enormous body of work, much of it referencing her Jewish immigrant family. The beauty of her books, in addition to the simple yet expressively wrought illustrations, is that even though the text is longer than most picture books, the stories flow with the rhythm of true storytelling. Here we have the same familiar pencil sketches of the Jewish peasant family. The focus is on the women, their interaction, and family relationships. Men appear sparingly in the story. The color of the book is concentrated on the quilt, bright in relief against the black and white figures done in charcoal. The quilt, itself, is not patchwork, but more folkloric with appliqued figures marking family events. The endpapers of the book replicate the quilt figures. Through five generation of family life, the quilt holds center stage as a blanket, a picnic cover, a Sabbath tablecloth, a baby bunting, and, ultimately, a wedding canopy. Author Polacco uses this anniversary edition to update readers on her children and the fate of the heirloom quilt. Her son gets married under the quilt canopy although it is not supported by chuppah poles. Her lesbian daughter incorporates the quilt into a commitment ceremony. Polacco's family epitomizes American Jewish assimilation as the family moves from Orthodox observance to more progressive and egalitarian forms of Judaism. The quilt, now fragile, hangs in a museum and a replica has been made to carry the family tradition forward. The wonderful, timeless story of an immigrant family will speak to many families, even if their culture and tradition are not Jewish and their family treasures are not quilted. Revisiting Palacco's seminal work is like being brought up to date by an old family friend. Reviewer: Lois Rubin Gross
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780689844478
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books
  • Publication date: 5/28/2001
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 55,243
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco comes from a family of storytellers, poets, dirt farmers, teachers and artists. They came from many parts of the world, but mainly Russia. She grew up to be an illustrator, a designer, and a writer of children's books. She now lives in Oakland, California with her husband and two children, and she is the present caretaker of the quilt.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

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(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 28, 2011

    A beautiful story for all families!

    My daughter picked this off the library shelf and I cried the first time I read it to my children. The illustrations are simple, yet deep and emotional. I will be buying this for our home library, and also a second copy for my classroom.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2007

    Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

    I think this book is a great story that tells how they kept their family close, even when they are in a whole other country. The illustrations showed just how the family felt. It also tells that even though Great-Gramma Anna died, she is still watching over them through the stitches of the quilt. All the first born girls after Anna got the quilt that she made. They would all preserve memories in the quilt to pass on to other family members. The quilt has been through a lot since Anna. It has become table cloths, tents, and capes. I highly recommend this book because it is a loving story.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2003

    This story is a treasure to keep and share just as the title promotes.

    The Keeping Quilt delights in a fasion that never grows old. It tenderly guides you through the story of a family , although mislplaced, continues to keep it's memories locked in the patches of a quilt. Each patch holds a story re-told through the eyes its maker. Every word embraces family spirit and strength as the illustrations evoke love, warmth, laughter, as well as hardship. A wonderful stroll for the entire family.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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