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The Keeping Quilt

4.39 of 5 stars 4.39  ·  rating details  ·  5,677 ratings  ·  253 reviews
"We will make a quilt to help us always remember home," Anna's mother said. "It will be like heaving 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

Paperback, 32 pages
Published May 1st 2001 by Aladdin (first published 1988)
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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice SendakThe Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric CarleThe Giving Tree by Shel SilversteinGreen Eggs and Ham by Dr. SeussGoodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Best Children's Books
450th out of 3,407 books — 5,126 voters
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4th out of 55 books — 44 voters

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Community Reviews

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Lisa Vegan
I love this picture book biography about a family and their quilt.

The illustrations are wonderful. The quilt and its dress and babushka that went into making it, are shown in glorious color; the rest of the illustrations are done in charcoal. It makes for a lovely effect.

The story is very moving. It starts when the author’s great grandmother came to America and how as she outgrew her dress, that dress and her headscarf were used, along with other family members’ items, were used to make a quilt.
This is a lovely true story about family tradition as the quilt, made from an immigrant daughter's outgrown babushka, is passed down through the generations, making appearances at many important events. Polacco shows how religion and culture have evolved some through the generations of Jewish marriages down to Polacco's own. I appreciate the idea of the illustrations with the quilt being the only thing in color, though I'm not sure the overall illustrations really wowed me. However, I think this ...more
Speechless… I am just totally blown away by this recent book I have read by Patricia Polacco! “The Keeping Quilt” is a beautiful picture book by Patricia Polacco that details the life story of Patricia Polacco’s family that has emigrated from Russia and how her Great Gramma Anna passed down her precious quilt to her children for four generations and has remained to be a wonderful treasure to her entire family. “The Keeping Quilt” is truly one of the best books written by Patricia Polacco ever wr ...more
Randie D. Camp, M.S.
I first read this book years ago in a multicultural education course I took as an undergrad. I was brought to tears in a hot summer classroom full of bored college kids but I was in awe then and reading it now, I was brought to tears again. Polacco is an incredible storyteller and it is even more incredible that her stories are true and from the heart. “The Keeping Quilt” was able to bring me to tears as a mother because there is something about sharing a quilt or any object across several gener ...more
Patricia Polacco read this book to me at the IRC luncheon Saturday, March 21, 2009. What a wonderful read. The red babushka highlighted on the cover and the red fabric throughout the book chronicles the life of the quilt and the life of the family. This masterfully crafted, simple yet powerful, book reminds us of the importance of traditions in families. It doesn't matter what the tradition, tradition gives structure to a child's life, even when that child grows up. The caring, nurturing, loving ...more
Jun 17, 2008 kelly rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: JPIC
Recommended to kelly by: URI530
A story about the immigration of Ms. Polacco's relatives from Russia and how a quilt made from worn out clothes brings the memory of far off relatives closer and binds them all together - Interesting use eof color for the quilt while other illustrations are in browns
A homemade quilt represents a Jewish family who emigrated from Russia to New York more than 100 years ago. The quilt is used to mark special life events such as births, weddings, birthdays, and the passing of elders. The quilt owner is the historian of all the family stories and the quilt serves as visual remembrance of those who came before. The story’s theme teaches of family traditions and the quilt, a very special family heirloom that is handed down through the generations. As each generatio ...more
Kathy Davie
A children's storybook that revolved around a quilt of memories.

My Take
It was sweet enough—and I'm already prejudiced towards it as I am a quilter. And I want to make one of these. I absolutely adored the colorful animals and flowers that were appliqued on this quilt! I also loved the many, many ways in which this quilt was used and loved [although I did hold my breath when it was used as a tablecloth...eek].

It was more a story of family, keeping alive the memory of those who have passed on.

L-Crystal Wlodek
This picture book, recommended for readers 8-10 years of age and has received the The Sydney Taylor Book Award. This book is about a family quilt, which is made from a basket of old clothes of several family members from many generations. The quilt represents the importance of family and heritage, as tells the story of the importance of the quilt, and all the events for which is has been a part (Sabbaths, weddings, births) as it has been passed along from mother to daughter through four generati ...more
Oct 05, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
We really enjoy Patricia Polacco's stories and so we look for them often at our local library. Lucky for us, she is a very prolific writer, so we still have a lot of her books to discover.

This is a wonderful tale about a piece of history that has remained within a family and helped to keep the memory of their ancestors alive. The story is a simple one, but it is very heartwarming. The illustrations are an unusual mix of black and white with spots of color, usually featuring the quilt or material
Polacco, Patricia, The Keeping Quilt. New York: Aladdin Picture Books, 2001. Print.
Anna, a young Russian Jewish girl, comes to the USA with her family. When she outgrows her dress that she used to wear on their farm in Russia, her mother comes up with the idea of using the material from the dress and shawl to make a quilt. Neighbors are invited to participate in the making of the quilt and they all have fun while working together. The quilt is then passed on from generation to generation on the
Amber M
Genre: Historical Fiction
Awards: 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award
Grade Level: 3-5

The Keeping Quilt can be used in the classroom to teach the students about generations of family and traditions that can be passed down from generation to generation. Anna’s ancestors were dirt farmers in Russia. The students could do research and find out what that actually was. The story mentions New York, Russia, and Michigan. I could use this to have the students learn about each state and Russia. For a follow up a
Brooke Brodsky
The Keeping Quilt is a fantastic book by Patricia Polacco, written as a memoir. It is told from the perspective of a great grandmother who is telling the story of when she was little and left Russia to come to America. As a little girl, Anna was sad that she was going to be leaving her home and her loved ones and family, so her mother helps her collect buts and pieces of clothing and other fabric from those who she will miss the most, and they create a quilt so she can keep a part of her loved o ...more
Jaimie Hong
This book is about a Russian immigrant family who make a quilt and hand it down as the years go by. The story starts with great grandma Anna and how the quilt started with her babushka. Anna then marries Uncle Vladimir and his shirt gets added to the quilt. Then Aunt Havalah's nightdress and Aunt Natasha's apron gets added onto the quilt. The quilt is used for everyday use, like a tablecloth during dinner, as well as special occasions, like a wedding canopy during a wedding. This quilt is passed ...more
Ms. Graham
The Keeping Quilt is a historical fiction picture book that follows the story of a Russian family who immigrated to America. The narrator (Patricia Polacco), tells the story of a quilt made of outgrown clothes, which was made to remind the newly immigrated family of their home in Russia. The book helps kids empathize with students who might be growing up in poverty and touches on some of the difficulties involved with moving to a new country. English-language learners will be able to relate to A ...more
Madelyn Adams
Personal Reaction:
I think this story was very simple. It was about a great grandmother who immigrated to America from Russia and made a quilt from her favorite materials, which were then passed down through the generations. It shows how our society has changed over the generation, because at the great grandmothers wedding the men and women celebrated separately compared to when the great granddaughter’s wedding and both sexes celebrated and danced together. I think it shows how traditions in cul
Olivia Lagore
Although I classified this book as a biography, it is special in that it does not tell about the life of a person, but about the life of a quilt. When Anna leaves her home in Russia with her family to live in America, the only piece of home she brings with her is her dress and her babushka. When both become to small for her, Anna's mother takes the dress and babushka and makes them (along with other clothing from their home) into a quilt. The quilt becomes the family's tablecloth, their huppa at ...more
Jenna Lattu
Summary: The Keeping Quilt is about this Keeping Quilt that is passed along down a line of generations. It is made from clothing members who came to the United States ad immigrants from Russia. The quilt is used for a variety of things for the family (i.e. tablecloth, wedding huppa, wrap for new babies, etc). It is an symbol of Patricia’s families enduring love and faith for one another.

Theme: Realize importance of celebrating traditions and holding onto those traditions in other environments.
Kissa Williams
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco tells a story of quilt that has been passed down through many generations of a family from Russia who immigrated to the United States. The quilt shows remembrance of their culture and its importance to the family. This story is based on Polacco’s own experience as a child. Her great-grandmother travel from Russia to America having only brought two significant items. Then one of the items that she brought to America with her was later incorporated into the qu ...more
The Keeping Quilt was my first Patricia Polacco book and most certainly not my last ... it has remained a favorite, and I have bought several copies to give as gifts over the years. The 10th anniversary edition was a special one for my own bookshelves. Polacco's illustrations are always delightful and her stories focus on family. They are a good reminder that we all need to keep our family stories alive for the generations to come.
I enjoy reading Patricia Polacco books because she is an excellent writer. I wanted to read Rechenka's Eggs to the Tiger Scouts before we dyed eggs. Unfortunately, I left my copy in my classroom. On the way home, I stopped at the Millville Public Library. When I reached for that book, I saw this one sitting next to it. I had heard people comment on this throughout the years but somehow had never read it. I picked this up too.

Polacco once again tells a touching story about her family and its Russ
Inna Nako
-this story tells of a Russian Jewish family moving to America and trying to preserve their culture through a quilt
-great to show geneology, for the quilt is handed down from great grandparents and down
-a wonderful idea would be for each ELL child to bring in a cultural artifact, something that represents their culture and share it with the class
-this way, students and teachers get to know each other more
The Styling Librarian
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco – This is THE book that I fell for. The FIRST book I read by Patricia Polacco. My mom introduced the book to me. While I was away at college, she had the opportunity to meet and see Patricia Polacco at an author lecture. My mom’s enthusiasm got me to pick up picture books while I was knee deep in research and studies on Special Education. I count this book as one of the first things that kick started me into getting lost in children’s literature, specificall ...more
April Poulter
Both the story and the illustrations in this book were wonderful! It is a beautiful story about history, customs, traditions, and family. I really like how Patricia Polacco communicated the importance of her history. As Americans I think we tend to disregard our history so I like things that remind us to look back and remember where we came from and the sacrifices that others made so that we could be where we are today.
The artwork in this book is unique in that it is all brown and white except f
Laura Verret
I like all kinds of different picture books. I like the cute ones, the clever ones, the well-illustrated ones, and the funny ones. But there’s another kind of picture book – a really good kind. It’s the historically-informative one.

The Keeping Quilt is the story of a quilt that was handed down in the author’s family for generations. It began with her great-gramma, Anna, who migrated from Russia to America. She and her mother created a quilt out of the scraps from one of Anna’s dresses – the quil
Emily Wright
Personal Review- I loved this book because of the themes and meanings that Patricia Polacco included. It reminds me of my family and makes me think of some of the traditions that we have handed down generation to generation.
Purpose- K- 4
Read aloud for enrichment
-This book represents relationships well among the characters which are a variety of generations and how they interact as a family. It also gives insight into the Jewish culture and traditions. There could be many questions that arise fr
Alyson (Kid Lit Frenzy)
Okay, I am a sucker for anything by Polacco and after hearing her talk about this and having her show the audience the original quilt that the book is written about...well...definitely an awwww...

Illustrations are somewhat different from Polacco's typical style but definitely fits the book.
Apr 08, 2014 Gina marked it as to-read
The Keeping Quilt tells about a Russian family tradition- a quilt that symbolizes love and faith. Patricia Polacco is given priceless possessions that has been passed down for generations. It tells that as long as she keeps it with her, she will always be home. Students may have a personal connection, because no matter the family, everyone has a piece of tradition that is passed from generations to generations. For a literacy lesson, I would have each student in the classroom to bring a piece of ...more
I read this at the same time as Polacco's The Blessing Cup, in part because I need to choose between the two for a class activity, and I'm finding the choice difficult as both of the books are very well written and illustrated. The illustrations here are predominantly in black and white with certain details in very vibrant primary colors, including the quilt from the title. The plot revolves around the creation of the quilt and how it is used and passed down through generations of the family's w ...more
Love it, love it, love it! This is Patricia Polacco's story of her family's "keeping quilt" passed from generation to generation. An absolute treasure.
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