Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

When Patricia's Great-Gramma Anna came to America as a child, the only things she brought along from Russia were her dress and the babushka she liked to throw up into the air when she was dancing. Soon enough, though, Anna outgrew the dress and her mother decided to incorporate it and the babushka into a quilt. "It will be like having a family in backhome Russia dance around us at night," she said. And so it was. Together with her Uncle Vladimir's shirt, Aunt Havalah's nightdress, and an apron of Aunt Natasha's, Anna's mother made a quilt that would be passed down through their family for almost a century. From one generation to the next, the quilt was used as a Sabbath tablecloth, a wedding canopy, and a blanket to welcome each new child into the world.
The Keeping Quilt, Patricia Polacco's signature piece, was first published in 1988 and won the Sydney Taylor Book Award from the Association of Jewish Libraries. This edition has been expanded to include Patricia's two children, who have also been able to share in the family tradition by using the quilt for birthdays and for play. Now a new generation of readers will come to cherish this heartwarming story of one family's special symbol of enduring love and faith.wn family, and the quilt that remains a symbol of their enduring love and faith.
I had the wonderful privilege of listening to this inspiring woman speak at the New York State Reading Association. Her topic was heroes in her life. She spoke of her grandmother and how she made sure that Patricia new her family history. She talked about the idiosyncrasies that the people we love have and what they mean to us after they have gone. When she talked about her grandmother's death there was not one dry eye in the house. 
She spoke of a teacher who realized that Patricia could not read. She talked about her had someone come in and help her. She talked about how when she saw the teacher 30 years later, how she thanked him.  
The book is a memoir. It would be great for modeling in the classroom and a great lesson about the importance of remembering your family. 
At this point, I want to take a minute to say thank you to a few people in my life.
My parents and brother - I am not me, without each of you 
Dr. Mosher - because when I told him I was going to be a writer, he said, "Go for it." 
Kristi for showing me so much more than dance 

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