Keeping Quilt

Book review by
Mary Dixon Weidler, Common Sense Media
Keeping Quilt Book Poster Image
Rich, fascinating, and heartwarming story.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Positive Messages
Violence & Scariness

Anna, the little girl, ages throughout the story and finally dies at ninety-eight.


What parents need to know

Parents need to know that innovative artwork enhances this rich and fascinating story involving a family leaving Russia.

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What's the story?

When you move to a country far away, how can you keep your homeland close? For Anna and her family, the answer is to make a quilt from pieces of clothing from Russia. This heart-warming story wraps around readers like a warm blanket.


Is it any good?

This is a touching tale about the love between generations. Children were interested in seeing the storyteller's family move through life. The children especially related to Patricia, the most Americanized in her ways among the family members, who used the quilt as a tent and as a tablecloth for her first birthday party.< The book is particularly effective in explaining some of the customs of the Russian-Jewish family: When Great-Grandpa Sasha proposes to Anna, he gives her "a gold coin, a dried flower, and a piece of rock salt ... the gold was for wealth, the flower for love, and the salt so their lives would have flavor."

Author and illustrator Patricia Polacco chose to have the quilt be the only object in full color; the rest of her sketches are beige and brown. In the same sense, it is the tradition and love of the family that brings color to the characters' lives. The illustrations enhance the author's meaning.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about family heirlooms. Do you have any objects that have been in your family for a long time or have been passed down from generation to generation? Why are those objects so important to your family?

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