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The Rag Coat
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The Rag Coat

4.26 of 5 stars 4.26  ·  rating details  ·  733 ratings  ·  59 reviews
With paintings that capture all the beauty of Appalachia in authentic detail, this tender story about a resourceful mountain girl's special coat will touchreaders with its affirming message of love and friendship.
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 3rd 1991 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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They all wore black, black like the coal mines that killed my papa. He didn't even like black. He liked all the bright colors of the day.

This is a lovely book. I prefer children's books with natural illustrations, so this is near perfect for me. Lauren Mills provides an engaging narrative along with her softly-lit drawings to make this a worthwhile read for parents and tykes. In a world of children-as-bullies, this is also a good lesson to show kids that they don't need to conform to fit in, tha
3.5 Lovely illustrations and a pleasant story that is perhaps a bit too predictable and "full of heart" for its own good about a poor girl whose family cannot afford to buy her a coat--thus, she cannot go to school in the winter--and the kind women who eventually make her a quilted coat of scraps. She can go to school but, oh, do the children tease her about that coat! I should probably note that if I was a fan of Appalachian stuff I would likely have bumped this up a star but I've never been to ...more
Minna desperately wants to go to school. But she knows Mama needs her help around the house taking care of her younger siblings, and she doesn’t want to leave Mama without a helper. And besides that, with her father sick with the miner’s cough, there isn’t enough money to buy a new coat for Minna, and she couldn’t go to school without a coat.

Suddenly, Minna’s father dies. Mama gives Minna permission to go to school, but she decides not to – she would only have to stop once the weather turned col
After Minna’s father dies from working in the coal mine, there is no money to buy her a coat so she can go to school. Her mother’s sewing group all work together to create a colorful coat for her out of rags and scraps and when Minna proudly wears it to school, she is mocked. But Minna has the last word in the end, showing the other children pieces of their past. Illustrated by the author.

This is a touching story set in Appalachia with beautiful watercolor illustrations. Empty spaces on the page
This book has beautiful illustrations and a touching message. Even as an adult, I'm constantly reminding myself that "people only need people, nothing else." This is a hard thing to remember as life with people can be messy and at times unpleasant. But I truly believe that getting involved in the lives of others is the best way we can spend our time on earth.
Rosa Cline
This book is a well written and illustrated story of a little very poor girl from the Appalachian area. Her Daddy worked in the coal mines and thus ended up getting very sick and eventually did pass away. She was only 7 when he died but while he was sick she wasn't able to go to school due to not having warm clothes and she had to stay home and help her Mother with carding wool so her Mom could make quilts to sell. She also helped care for her younger brother so her Momma could quilt from sunup ...more
This one may be a little too advanced/serious for my 4 yr old. Will save for next summer?

Picture Book Activities
Day 1: ask questions and learn How to Make a Happy Day rhyme and sing Clementine
Day 2: find Appalachian Mountains on map, jump rope rhymes
Day 3: Sewing practice? Rag Coat Collage?
Day 4: look at Nana's quilt calendars/books (hopefully find Joseph's Coat of Many Colors pattern) and read about Joseph and his brothers in Genesis
Day 5: sharing with those in need- food pantry, personal needs
Alison Durbin
This has to be one of my favorite books from my childhood, and I was elated that I happened upon it in my school's library. This book, though it takes place in a much earlier time, can resonate with children of today. It is a story of love and friendship that truly touches the heart. The beautiful illustrations add to the heart-warming tale. Add this to the list of books that I will purchase for my future classroom library!
Absolutely beautiful. The story, the illustration, all of it is just beautiful. Being a southern girl from just below the North Georgia Smokey Mountains a story like this resignates with my ancestral history and gives me another reason to love it. Definitely on my to-buy wishlist. This will be a great addition to the history section to study earlier Americans, yet it could also span cultures with similarity.
The girl in this book comes from a family that can't even buy here a coat. The coat she gets, so she can go to school is made by all the neighborhood women out of scraps. The children at her school judge her coat harshly but then learn that the coat was made with love and includes a story about them. Very sweet and touching and a lovely book about being careful to about judging others.
Scott Hayden
In a coal mining town Minna wants to go to school, but without a coat, why start something she would have to quit when the weather turned cold? In a remedy reminiscent of "Stone Soup", Minna gets what she wants - only to face schoolyard ridicule. After thoughtful time in the woods, she returns to school with a surprise that brings everyone together.
An absolutely fantastic story! I cry every time I read this. The familial love, the gift of education, the power in words, the strength in community....oh my. It is so, so sweet.
Loved this book - sweet, sad yet it'll leave you with a warm glow.
I can't read this without getting a little teary eyed!
Nathan Dunahoo
kids learn about sharing.
Minna doesn't have a coat, but she has one of her mother's quilts and she has her father. When Minna's father can't mine any more because of miner's cough, Minna must stay to help her mother quilt to make money for the family. Just before Minna's father dies, he tells her that it's time for her to go to school, but Minna was worried because she doesn't have a coat. The story goes on to tell of how Minna got her coat. It's a book about family, community, quilting, acceptance and the stories that ...more
The illustrations in this story are beautiful, and it has such a sweet and simple message of love.
This book is about a little girl who cannot go to school, because she doesn't have a coat to wear in the cold weather. When some ladies make her a coat out of old scraps, she is made fun of at school. Little did the other children know, the scraps were full of their memories, and they realize how special her rag coat is. I thought this book was very inspirational, teaching students not to judge so quickly and to see the beauty in things that they may have not considered beautiful.
Kyle Baldwin
An excellent book that shows a girl who must deal with the death of her father. Since he dies and was the bread winner for the family, she does not have a coat to wear to school. Her mother's friends team up to sew her a coat. When she wears the coat she is teased because of the patchwork, but the patches all reveal something about her classmates. A good book to discourage bullying by showing that we all have something in common or can learn fronm one another.
Alison Tripp
This was one of my favorite books as a child. It always made me cry. The story is long and sad but the little girl is so strong and nice. She is bullied in the book and she almost goes home but she turns around and faces her peers. She tells them all about her coat and I think this book really explains to children that you never know what somebody is going or has been through.
Sung Baick
This is a great story about a girl who receives a rag coat made of all sorts of different fabrics from different people. This would be a great book to use for inferring and predictions. It's lengthy but can be split into two days for the younger elementary grade levels. The storyline is easy to understand and it would be great for any elementary grade.
A beautiful book! This would be a great story to read before a lesson on economics and the effect community and friendship have on everyone, rich or poor. The illustrations are wonderful and the story is very touching- this would be good to read in a Literacy Circle by having the students make connections between the book and what they've been studying.
Cassi Dick
This is a great book about a little girl who is poor and doesn't have a coat to wear to school. She gets one made for me of little pieces of material and when she arrives at school she is teased. Once the children realize that this jacket is filled with her memories she gets the las laugh. This would be a good book for 3-4 grade.
Steve Boman
This is a warm (no pun intended!) story of people - that is, "people only need people, and nothing else." Even bullying rears its ugly head in this tale, but we can use it to stress to our children the idea that we all need to come together and help each other, not alienate those who may be different.
Queen Bee
I read this book to my children as part of a homeschool unit on the history of coal mining in the USA. I had to stop and gather myself a number of times as I read aloud to them. At times I could barely speak as I choked-up. I hadn't pre-read it and so had no idea how touching the story is. A treasure!!
Cindi P.
Warmly told and illustrated, this story is engaging and insightful. It provides a closer look at the life of a family in a simple mountain community, inspired by the Appalachian region in the United States. A perceptive perspective on gratitude, too, and a character who responds to bullying. I enjoyed it.
This is a sweet story with charming pictures! I wish I had the patience and skill for quilt making, and I love storytelling, so this story was a hit with me. I also liked that Minna, at the end of the book, gains the courage to return to school after being hurt by the bullies. Sweet.
Dec 08, 2008 Melanie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: families
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Rene Spector Johnson
We are rowing this book this, so many lessons to teach using this book, the obvious ones of course, the reason mommy cried and how books have that power to move you, was one lesson I didn't think I would get to this early on. Very nice!
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