PPBF Looks at The Keeping Quilt

PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) looks at The Keeping Quilt.

After my Tante Helen passed away, my sister and I each inherited a quilt she made with the help of her mother. I never draped the quilt over a bed or chair for fear something might spill on it. I feared that through daily use, the quilt might tear or fade. So, I wrapped it with great care and stored it in the linen closet. Some years later, when my daughter was eight, I came into her room to find she had spread the treasured quilt over her floor.

My Tante Helen’s handmade, heirloom quilt was not only touching the floor, it was covered with toys, books, one immensely happy child, and a shedding, slobbering dog.

As I began my relatively calm lecture about the importance of this quilt that I stored with the intention of bringing out for special company or for some special day in the distant future, my very wise daughter changed my mind about what it meant to cherish an heirloom.

“Aren’t we special enough to enjoy this quilt?” she said.


“Doesn’t having it out where we can see it make every day special?”

Yup! You guessed it…the quilt stayed out. And the fancy soup terrine my husband and I received as a wedding gift replaced our mundane, pyrex serving bowl. And our special occasion wine glasses replaced our everyday wine glasses.

“Yes, my love,” I said to my daughter, ” we are special enough to enjoy this quilt every day and seeing it makes every day special. Very special. Seeing the quilt brings back a myriad of marvelous memories of my Tante Helen.

The story of my aunt’s quilt brings me to today’s PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco.

Title – The Keeping Quilt – view on Amazon HERE.

Written and illustrated by – Patricia Polacco

Published by – Aladdin Paperbacks  edition 2001  (text and illustration copyright 1988)

Suitable for ages – 3-7

Topics/Theme –  Love, faith, and traditions

Opening –When my Great-Gramma Anna came to America, she wore the same thick overcoat and big boots she had worn for farm work. But her family weren’t dirt farmers anymore. In New York City her father’s work was hauling things on a wagon, and the rest of the family made artificial flowers all day.

Everyone was in a hurry, and it was so crowded, not like in backhome Russia. But all the same, it was their home, and most of their neighbors were just like them.

Amazon Review – “We will make a quilt to help us always remember home,” Anna’s mother said. “It will be like having 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.

Why do I like this book? Traditions and family top my list of what is truly important. That is why I love this story about a quilt made from clothes of family members–fabrics that will hold memories and stories as the quilt is passed down through generations. The quilt is enjoyed as a table cloth on the Sabbath, a blanket Anna sits upon when her fiance’ proposed marriage, it became the wedding huppah, a wrap for Anna’s new born child, and so much more.

Learn about Patricia Polacco HERE.

Discussion with children – What clothes do you or your family members have that you would want to include in a quilt. What special memories do those clothes have for you?

4 thoughts on “PPBF Looks at The Keeping Quilt

  1. I too have some precious family quilts. And, YES! we should use them instead of hiding them away. Make them a part of our lives, and by doing that, bring memories of the past into the present to pass on to the next generation. Great book!

    Liked by 1 person

    • After I wrote this post, I started thinking about other heirlooms I have tucked away. It feels good to bring them into the light. Some have memories that I’m thinking would make fun picture books. I’m glad you like the book, The Keeping Quilt. It’s been a favorite of mine for quite some time.


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