Coloring Outside of the Lines!

Patricia Polacco

Patrica Polacco, The Keeping Quilt

This book is about a long family heirloom that is very important to Patricia and her family. Patricia's great grandmother Anna made the long journey from Russia to America bringing only a few of her belongings; such belongings included a dress and her favorite babushka ( a triangular folded handkerchief for the head.) Once Anna grew out of her dress her mother decided to incorporate it and her babushka into a quilt. They decided to put pieces of all family member's clothes to help them remember their family in Russia. So with her Uncle Vladimir's shirt, Aunt Havalah's nightdress, and Aunt Natasha's apron, Anna and her mother created a quilt that ends up being passed down through her family for many years; almost a century. Each generation incorporated the quilt into a meaningful family function such as a tablecloth for a sabbath, a wedding canopy, and of course a blanket to welcome a new child into the world, even Patricia herself.


The Keeping Quilt is a great multicultural book. The main character is of a Russia and Jewish desent. I chose this book because it makes a powerful and interesting read alound due to the fact that it allows children to think about the cultural traditions they have within their family. It allows students to make a connection from the book to a personal experience. It also allowes the children to learn and accept other cultural traditions different from their own.  I also love this book because of the amazing artistic quality.  Patricia Polacco not only wrote an amazing book, but she does all of her artwork.  The Keeping Quilt has an unique theme in the artwork.  Patricia Polacco wanted to highlight the importance of the quilt, so all of her artwork is in black and white except the quilt which is in color.  Finally, the book may have shorter text, but is has a meaningful message.  The shorter text also allows for an increase in student learning, especially with reading comprehension.  It will also engage the children in a healthy discussion about different cultures and the meaning of family heirlooms.