The Keeping Quilt: Patricia Polacco

bookcover

The Keeping Quilt

Author/Illustrator: Patricia Polacco

Publisher: New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Publication Year: 1988

Brief Summary: Patricia Polacco tells the story of her Jewish immigrant family and how four generations have been bound together by one homemade quilt. 

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Sydney Taylor Book Award, 1988 Winner Younger Readers United States
Best of the Bunch, 1988 Association of Jewish Librarians
Not Just for Children Anymore!, 1999 Children’s Book Council
Recommended Literature: Kindergarten through Grade Twelve, 2002 California Department of Education
Teachers’ Choices, 1989 International Reading Association

Ideas for using this book in classroom or library; brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

  • Why do you think Polacco chose to keep only certain parts of the illustrations in color, while other parts remain in gray scale?  How did she use color in this book to highlight the theme of her story?
  • How has the quilt played a role in the characters’ lives? (Comprehension)
  • This story is a real story based on Polacco’s family.  Traci, Polacco’s daughter, was the last to get the quilt at the end of the book.  Can you make a prediction of who the quilt might be passed onto next?  How do you think the quilt will be used in this person’s life?  (Prediction)
  • What are some traditions Anna’s family keeps? (Comprehension)  What are some traditions your family keeps?  (Self-to-text connections)
  • Does your family have something that has been passed down from one generation to the next?  What is it and why is it important/special in your family?  Write a short story about it and illustrate. (Self-to-text connections)
  • Class Keeping Quilts: Have each student draw or write something that is important to him/her on a piece of square, colored paper. Connect all the squares into a “quilt”.  Have each student talk to the class about his/her square and its significance.  This could be done on actual quilting blocks that can be made into a quilt and given to the teacher/librarian as a gift.  (Art teacher)
  • Individual Keeping Quilts: Have each student make their own quilt (at least 9 squares).  What pictures/writings would they include?  Have students share about the significance of their drawings/writings.
  • Math connection: bring in some quilt samples or show the class pictures of various kinds of quilts.  What geometric shapes do students see in quilts?  Have students create their own quilting patterns using pre-cut shapes.

Golem: David Wisniewski

Golem  

  • Author/Illustrator: David Wisniewski

  • Publisher: Clarion Books

  • Publication Year: 1996

  • Brief Summary: In this retelling of the Jewish legend of the golem, a rabbi uses his mystic powers to form a giant/golem out of clay to protect his people in 16th-century Prague.

  • Awards (if any):

Awards, Honors and Prizes:

Best Books:

State and Provincial Lists:

  • Ideas for using this book in classroom or library:

    • While the illustrations are hauntingly beautiful, the dark, frightening, and sad nature of the story can be problematic for young children…and the ethical questions raised by the creation and destruction of Golem can be a difficult subject to navigate.

    • Discussion of legends

    • Discussion of Jewish history…perhaps for older students (12 and older). What is a ghetto?  Why were Jewish people prosecuted during this period of time?

  • Brief notes on curriculum connections/content learning standards/Common Core/etc.

    • Social studies connection — Jewish history/legends

  • Special features included (if applicable) — index; timeline; author’s notes; further reading; etc.: The afterword includes a discussion on this legend and how it fits in with the Jewish history.

  • Accessed at: Thrasher Elementary Library