A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Shows a slice of the immigrant experience. Shows Jewish traditions and rituals, like weddings. Some specific vocabulary like huppah (a wedding canopy), babushka (means scarf but also grandmother), and foods like challa (bread) and kulich (cake).
Objects from where you came from can help keep home in your heart. Strong messages of family love and traditions.
Positive Role Models
Mothers and grandmothers help the kids keep the home they left in their heart in part by creating and passing down a quilt made from the scraps of loved ones' clothing from back home. The family members model joy and caring.
The family in the story are Russian Jews. Religious ceremonies are shown but described only in the art. At the beginning of the book, immigrants are shown huddled together upon arrival.
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Violence & Scariness
Anna, the little girl, ages throughout the story and it's mentioned that she dies at age 98.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Patricia Polacco's The Keeping Quilt is the heartwarming story of the author's Jewish family, who immigrated to the United States from Russia. To keep memories of home close, her great-grandmother made a quilt from scraps of relatives' Russian clothes, and that quilt has been passed down ever since. Innovative artwork enhances this rich and fascinating story. There's no violence, but there is a mention of a 98-year-old grandmother dying. The 25th anniversary edition, which came out in 2013, includes 15 pages of bonus material.
Is It Any Good?
This warm, beautifully illustrated book shows how an immigrant family keeps memories of home and family alive through food, storytelling, and a special homemade quilt. The Keeping Quilt wraps around readers like a warm blanket. The book is particularly effective in explaining some of the customs of the Russian Jewish family: When Great-Grandpa Sasha proposes to Anna (the author's great-grandmother), 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." And future couples in the family keep up the tradition.
Author and illustrator Patricia Polacco chose to have the quilt be the only object in full color; the rest of her sketches are black-and-white pencil drawings. In the same sense, the tradition and love of the family brings color to the characters' lives. The illustrations enhance the author's meaning.
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
Books with Jewish Characters
Kids' Books About the Immigrant Experience
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