Monday, December 19, 2011

My List of Children's Books About Quilts & Quilting Part 2

This is a follow-up to my previous post where I began my list of favorite picture books for children about quilts.

So, onward with the remainder of the list....

I discovered The Secret to Freedom by Marcia Vaughan at our library.  The story is set in the years before the Civil War and tells the story of Lucy, a young slave on a southern plantation, and her older brother.  Lucy learns the "secret to freedom" when her brother brings home a sack full of old quilts.  He explains to her what all the different patterns mean for slaves trying to reach freedom by means of the Underground Railroad.  Lucy decides to help by hanging out the "right" quilts at the right time for the runaways that depend on the messages.
One thing I really liked about this book was the Author's Note at the end.  In it, the author explains the quilt code further and describes the most important patterns used in the Underground Railroad.

Dolly Parton's Coat of Many Colors isn't really about quilts, but it is a sweet story about a little girl whose mother sews her a coat made of fabric scraps (much like a quilt).  When the children at school laugh at her coat, she tells them how her mother stitched the coat with love and that it is worth more than gold.  "And though we had no money I was rich as I could be in my coat of many colors that mama made for me."

Eight Hands Round:  A Patchwork Alphabet by Ann Whitford Paul is a really unique alphabet book that teaches children the names of twenty-six different quilt block patterns.  It is a "creative look at a meaningful folk art tradition."

The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days by Mary Cobb is another of my favorites.  I'm just going to quote from the back cover on this one.  "In this book you can find out what dozens of quilt-block designs -- from a simple nine-patch block to Martha Washington's star -- tell about America's early days.  Easy papercraft projects will let you make your own quilt blocks without sewing a single stitch."  

This book would be especially useful in an upper-elementary classroom where students are learning about pioneer days.  It's a great way to incorporate art as well as mathematics with social studies.

 I stumbled upon The Log Cabin Quilt by Ellen Howard at a second-hand store and knew it would be a fine addition to our collection.  It tells the story of a pioneer family that sets out for the woods of Michigan from Carolina.  The mother has recently passed away and the grandmother refuses to leave behind her flour sack of fabric scraps.  The three children, along with their father and grandmother, try to make their new log cabin feel like home but to no avail -- until one cold and bitter evening when the children find a unique use for the fabric scraps.

My final book is Sewing Quilts by Ann Turner, which "captures the importance of quilting and the simple joys and fears of a little girl growing up in the early twentieth century."  The little girl watches her mama sew a log-cabin quilt, and she knows that, somehow, the quilt will keep her family safe from harm.

So, that completes my list.  I'm sure that as time goes on, we will acquire more books similar to these.  I'll just have to add a part 3 if that should happen!  I hope you have time to check out some of these books from your local library and possibly even add them to your own collection some day!

Happy reading!  Happy quilting!


  1. Janine, all these books sound great. We have Patricia Palaco's "The Keeping Quilt" and we love it. I recently saw another book on quilting at the library. It was called "Winter Lights: a season in poems and quilts", and I immediately thought of you. I have not read this book, but I was wondering if you know it.

  2. No, I'm not familiar with that one. I'll have to check it out next time we are there. Thanks!