Aug 13, 2011

Quilt Themed Books for Children

I was visiting with my 95 year old mother-in-law, yesterday, and we were talking about the 'old' days and all of the things she did that others don't seem to do much of any more. One of those things was reading to children.

As bookstores close all around us, and as our world becomes digitized, it's lovely to buy and to give 'real' books as gifts. Imagine a world where everything is 'virtual' and books can not be touched, smelled, drooled upon, and loved like gingham dogs, calico cats, and velveteen rabbits!

I've been saving a list of lovely books with quilt based themes for a long while now, and while that list continues to grow from year to year, here's a lovely start of ideas that I can share with you.

So, grab a quilt from my magical quilt chair and combine the love of quilting, with the love of reading and giving 'real' books and check out these..even if you have to order them online and not at your disappearing local bookstores!

Pay your love of reading forward...give the gift of a book, today! Pay your love of sewing forward and teach a child to sew and quilt!

I have just discovered that my list which I have been adding to for the past 3 years, has inadvertently use linkage that has to do with sales and listing order kept by others. I am trying really hard to figure out how I did that and remove that part.

I absolutely need to give credit, and correct linkage, as I am working on removing the wrong links to anyone who originally had them. Please do let me know if any linkage is incorrect.

I cannot promise that all of these books are still in print, but I am hoping they can be found at used bookstores and online sources.

Here are some favorites! If you have any that are not listed, please do let me know, so I can add them in, as well.

Mother Earth and Her Children...A Quilted Fairy Tale by Sibylle Von Olfers

Based on the beautiful artwork quilts of Sieglinde Schoen Smith.The incredibly intricate and vivid illustrations in this book are details of a modern quilt inspired by Sibylle von Olfers' classic storybook Mother Earth and Her Children. This vibrant new translation, in turn inspired by the quilt, explores the changing of the seasons and delicately touches upon the circle of life.

Mother Earth's ABC: A Quilter's Alphabet and Storybook by Sieglinde Schoen Smith, The Root Children etc.

Q is for Quilt by Gwen Marston
While this is an ABC 'quilt pattern' book, it's simple format would make a lovely ABC story book for reading with a child just learning to love sewing and quilting. The love of quilting combined with the history of quilt blocks in a fun easy book to share!

O the Red Rose Tree by Patricia Beatty

This is a novel about young girls who decide to help an 'older woman' realize her dream of making a very special quilt.

Lavender by Karen Hesse

A short chapter book for 7 to 9 year olds about the making of a special quilt for a new cousin.

My Grandmother's Patchwork Quilt by Janet Bolton

For ages for 4 and up, this unique picture book that blocks from the actual quilt to illustrate the story of a young girl growing up on a farm. At the back of the book there is even an envelope with 10 fabric quilt squares so that you can make your own doll's quilt to match the one created in the book, itself.

Mrs. Noah's Patchwork Quilt Janet Bolton

Similar to Janet Bolton's other book, this is for ages 4 and up and its story to is that of Noah's Ark.Quilt fabric squares are also provided in this one.

Patchwork Island by Karla Kushkin

A picture book for ages 3 and up that tells the story of a young mother and the quilt she makes to wrap up her baby in the "seaside colours" of their Prince Edward Island home in Canada.

Linda Lou by Meighan Morrison

This charming little tale will delight 3 year old and up as it uses applique patchwork and embroidery to tell the story of a young girl who loves to "dress up" in her very best fun finery ..only to to find out that she has forgotten something.

Quilts and the Underground Railroad

The following books are based on the idea of the Underground Railroad and the use of quilts to send messages to slaves escaping from the South to freedom in the North.While the idea of quilts being used for "The Underground Railroad" may have been proved to be a myth, the stories are still wonderful and can be used to teach the freedom of quilts as stories themselves. Here is a list of underground railroad book with quilts:

Sweet Clara and The Freedom Quilt, by Deborah Hopkinson

Under the Quilt of Night, by Deborah Hopkinson

Almost To Freedom, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson

Lists of a quilt themed books for many different age levels:

American Quilts, Book 1: Ellen's Story Kirby
Boy and the Quilt, The Kurtz
Cassie's Word Quilt Ringgold
Coat of Many Colors by Dolly Parton
Cradle That Grandpa Built, The Smith
Dream Quilt, The Ryan
Eight Hands Round Paul
Go Away, Dark Night Higgs
Homeplace Shelby
Josephina Story Quilt, The Coerr
Just Plain Fancy Polacco
Keeping Quilt, The Polacco
Log Cabin Christmas, The Howard/Himler
Log Cabin Quilt, The Howard
Moon Quilt, The Warner
My Grandmother's Patchwork Quilt Bolton
On Market Street Lobel
Patchwork Quilt, The Flournoy/Pinkney
Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts Hines
Quilt Block History of Pioneer Days, The Cobb
Quilting Now and Then Welling/Dock
Quiltmaker's Gift, The Jeff Brumbeau

Quiltmaker's Gift Box by Jeff Brumbeau and Gail De Marcken
Quilts from the Quiltmaker's Gift:20 Traditional Patterns for a New Generation of Generous Quiltmakers by Joanne Larsen Line

Quilt of Dreams Dwyer
Rag Coat, The Mills
Reuben and the Blizzard Moss
Reuben and the Quilt Moss
Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt Ernst
Seasons Sewn, The Paul/McCurdy
Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt Smucker
Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt Hopkinson

The Bedspread, Fair

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

The Promise Quilt by Candice Ransom

The Quilt by Ann Jonas

The Quilt Story Johnston/dePaola

The Tortilla Quilt,Tenorio-Coscarelli
Who's Under Grandma's Quilt? Waterstone

Quilting Books with Patterns for Kids


by Toni Phillips and Juanita SimonichThis is a lovely book of children's quilts with great quilt designs. You can use them as blocks, small quilts or put them together to make one larger quilt.. One quilt is called Wheels &More Wheels and has a tow truck, fire engine, ambulance, and police cars etc as well. In addition to this, there are the following: Astronaut, farm, cowboy, circus, zoo, christmas, a school quilt.


by Margaret Rolfe
That Patchwork Place

This book has a lot of North American wildlife such as birds and squirrels, black bears etc. It uses easy piecing methods to create some wonderful animals.

QUILT A KOALA by Margaret Rolfe-Featuring native Australian birds and animals and includes patterns for creating those quilt blocks.

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy - this is one of the best all time stories of African American family life.

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston and illustrated by Tomie dePaola

Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt by Lisa Campbell Ernst

The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills

The Patchwork Lady by Mary K Whittington

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson

The Boy and the Quilt by Shirley Kurtz

Eight Hands Around-A Patchwork Alphabet by Ann Whitford Paul

The Return of Morris Schumsky by Steven Schnur

The Mountains of Quilt by Nancy Willard and Tomie dePaola

Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold...based on the author's art quilt reminiscences of her childhood in New York.

Nine in One GRR! GRR! by Blia Xiong and Cathy Spagnoli and published by Children's Book Press of SanFrancisco. A beautiful Hmong folk tale is surrounded by a quilt like border of Hmong needlework.

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco-the story of a quilt handed down thru generations and used as a crib quilt and a wedding Huppah.

14,287 Pieces of Fabric by Jean Ray Laury

Books (not necessarily with a quilt theme but can wonderfully accompany the gift of a quilt with suggestions for quilts given:

Books from Preschool to mid Elementary: - Preschool through 3rd grade

Books for mid-elementary through middle school

A varied collection of suggestions- A mixture of levels
Curriculum of Quilting Activities for teachers or home schooling parents:

Quilting Activities Across the Curriculum, Grades 1-3 by Wendy Buchberg
Quilt Connections, Grades 1-4 Carson-Dellosa publisher

A Terrific Idea!

Storybook Quilts from Mainstreet Quilt and Thread Guild...a great idea to create in your own quilt guild!

What is a Storybook Quilt? And how does this 'Storybook Quilt Collection use both quilts and books together? This amazing quilt guild has collected children's book about quilting that are then paired with small or even medium sized quilts to reflect both the story of the book and its illustrations.

As the guild website, these books are "ready to be read and the quilts are ready to be admired, looked at, loved, and TOUCHED! The Story Book Quilt Collection reflects the love of quilting, and promotes an understanding of the historic and cultural heritage integral to the art of quilting"

Isn't that awesome? Don't you think that we should all start one of these groups! So, my first list is their fabulous idea and list of books:

This quild's Storybook Quilt Collection includes:

The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr

While traveling west with her family in 1850, a young girl makes a patchwork quilt chronicling the experiences of the journey. This quilt was made by many members of the Main Street Quilt & Thread Guild, interpreting the beginning chapter quilt squares. It was quilted by Leslie Sparks.

A Quilt of Wishes by Teresa Orem Werner

An adoptive mother and her friends stitch a 50-square quilt for the Chinese baby she is waiting to adopt. When finished, she ships it to the orphanage to keep her baby warm until she arrives. The nanny and other women add 50 squares of their own (to represent the baby’s past). This is the author’s true story. Many Guild members contributed fabric for this quilt. However, Kymberly Boschee lovingly made this quilt. This project was dear to her heart as she herself adopted two children from China.

The Boy and the Quilt by Shirley Kurtz

This is a story about a boy who watches his mother make quilts until one day he decides to make his own quilt. He diligently cuts the pieces of fabric and has them stacked all over his room. It comes time to assemble the quilt and his mother starts to help him. The boy makes it clear that he has a plan for the quilt and he sees to it his design is realized. Best for Kindergarten -2nd grade

The Patchwork Cat - by Nicola Bayley

This is a delightful story about a Tabby cat that has a favorite quilt to snuggle. The quilt gets lost and the cat sets out to retrieve her beloved patchwork quilt. The quilt is a very good match to the images in the book.

Patchwork Quilt

The quilt that was made with this book is a quilt made by a third grade class from Double File Elementary, organized and quilted by their Art teacher (and quilter) Ann Smith. It has laminated cards written by the students who made the quilt blocks describing how their square, taken from something personal (a T-shirt, blanket, etc.) is special to them. This would be a great opportunity for group reading. This could also be inspiration for a class or family project. Best for 2nd-5th grade

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston and Tomie DePalma

This is an adorable story about a young girl who has a quilt and loves it. The quilt eventually ends up in an attic space where a new child discovers it. The quilt is refurbished and is loved again. This quilt was appliquéd and quilted by Sheila Berry. Best for Kindergarten-2nd grade.

The Quiltmaker’s Gift by Jeff Brumbeau

This is a story about a generous woman who makes quilts by day and finds homeless people to give them to by night. The King of the land desires one of her beautiful Quilts as he has many possessions and wants more. The Quiltmaker agrees to make him a quilt, however, she will sew one piece on for each possession he gives away to another person. It is a great story to use in a lesson about compassion. The book also has several illustrations of quilt patterns. Discovering the pattern of an actual quilt can be a learning activity in the classroom as well.

Quiltmakers Gift – 2

We have two books with quilt sets; one set has a quilt like the king received, very colorful and enchanting especially for younger groups, the other set has two quilts each using a pattern depicted in the artwork in the book. The set with the Log Cabin and Children’s Delight has been used by teachers to have students identify the patterns. Best for 2nd -4th grade.

Reuben and the Quilt by Merle Good

This story is about an Amish family. It depicts the traditions of making a quilt together. The quilt goes missing when it was newly finished. The members of the community respond in a distinctly different way by assuming if someone took it they must have needed it. So they make a pillow to match and put it out to be taken also. The Quilt is a great match to that depicted in the book. This book would be a great opportunity to discuss cultural differences. This quilt was made by Dawn Pratt Best for 2nd-5th grade.

Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt by Deborah Hopkinson

This story is about a young woman who finds a way to be helpful to the underground railway by making maps on quilts. The quilter has embroidered Round Rock landmarks into this quilt which has made it most engaging to Round Rock students and adults alike. Great companion to go along with American History lessons 2nd-5th Grade.

The Keeping Quilt
The author’s first-person voice moves her narrative forward from the time when her Great-Gramma Anna came to America during the last century to the present. The illustrations are charcoal drawings and the only color used is in the babushka and dress of Great-Gramma Anna, which become part of a brightly hued quilt. Following the quilt through four generations is the basis of this story. Customs and fashions change, but family is constant, visually linked by the ”keeping quilt.” Patricia Polacco is the author and illustrator and this is a true story about her Russian Jewish family. This quilt was designed, appliquéd, and quilted by Elke Newhouse.

The Tamale Quilt -by Jane Tenorio-Coscarelli

It’s Christmas time and poor Rosa is sick during her favorite time of year. With a heart full of love and a special quilt tucked under her arm, Nana Isabel comes to the rescue with wonderful stories of her days on the farm and her mother’s delicious tamales. There is Spanish vocabulary throughout and this book could be a companion book to The Tortilla Quilt. The book includes the pattern for the quilt and recipes. This quilt was appliqued, pieced, and quilted by Kae McLaughlin.


From google search:

[PDF] how you can turn a quilt story into a reading lesson:

The Quilt Story
File Format: PDF/Adobe Acrobat - Quick View
by T Johnston - Cited by 8 - Related articles
A pioneer mother stitches a quilt for her daughter. The little girl plays ... Read the title of the book on the cover, pointing to each word as you say it. ... After you have finished reading, ask children the recall questions below. ...

This list is in alphabetical order by the author's last name. You can jump directly to the following the originating website:

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | P | R | S | T | V | W | Y | Z | Credits & Connections

For Teachers: Be inspired by Pam Brees....
"I am a retired elementary school teacher . . . 37 years . . . and a quilter. Under my guidance, my guild, Piecemakers of Southern Alameda County, CA, gives quilting grants to teachers to teach quilting in the classroom. The grant is for $100 and a book on teaching quilting to kids to get them started . . . and of course the guild provides helpers and expertise and in some cases materials. We also give them a library list of books on quilts and quilting. I am glad to share what we did and how we did it with other guilds and groups. People can contact me directly at You can also check out some of our grant quilts on our website . . . One that is a handy one to know for the classroom is the potholder quilt, inspired by a Peace Quilt made for the US by Japanese Quilters after 9/11 and designed by Yoko Ueda."

Quilt History for Teachers: Lesson Plans & Books

Susan Druding has written a very useful article on Quilting with Children for teachers and parents.

You might also want to visit Heddi Craft's Quilting with Children site about her experience quilting with rural Kansas sixth graders which includes many useful links to other sites.

Other annotated lists of children's quilting fiction are posted by Millville (Utah) School's 4th/5th grade class of 1994/95, and reviewers' comments from QuiltNet.

According to Quilter's Newsletter Magazine, no.284, July/Aug. 1996, p.63, a booklet is available that lists 87 books with quilting themes for juveniles published between 1863 and 1994. Stitch Me a Story; A Guide to Children's Books With a Quilting Theme is available for $5.95 plus $1.00 first-class postage and handling, from Celia LoPinto, 3044 Franklin St., San Francisco, CA 94123.

A new book for art teachers - - - from Author Mary Elizabeth Johnson, taken from my historian interview of her:
"I am also delighted to have learned, just recently, that the book has been cited in Weaving through Words: Using the Arts to Teach Reading Comprehension Strategies, by Mantione & Smead. The book is listed under Appendix D: "Art and Literary Resources." (Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2003). We, as quilters, know that many of the skills we use in our favorite art form are applicable to many other disciplines, and it's very satisfying to have that fact recognized in a book that teaches teachers."

And last but not least, an amazing list and many references can be found at:

Quilting With children

Heddi Thompson describes quilt projects she has organized. Her site includes ideas, techniques, a suggested reading list and resources.

Frontier Thematic Unit and Booklist

Contains references to quilting.

Design a Quilt

Math ideas using quilts to study geometry

The "Who Am I?" Quilt Page

Describes a quilting project which includes all areas of a curriculum

Quilts, Quilters, Quilting and Patchwork in Fiction for Children

Books for the "Who Am I?" Quilt

Children's Literature Home Page at the Literature Nook

Teacher Links Home Page at the Literature Nook

And last but not least!

Children's Quilting Books-
Check out Kimberly Wulferts site
with information on quilt history, quilt dating, and a great list of children's quilt themed books!

shown above:
The magical quilt chair of quilts. I worked on four of them and love this piled high photo.

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Karen said...

Hi Michelle......Thanks for this wonderful book list! I really didn't know there were so many books about quilts for children. My grand-daughter is celebrating her 9th BD tomorrow and she and I have been learning quilty things when she visits me. I'll make note of some of the books she may be able to get at her school library.

It would be a terrible shame if books someday became extinct! What a horrid thought.

Hugs, Karen

Lynne said...

A wonderful list - thank you.

I am making cloth books for our grandsons' Christmas presents - quilting skills and books combined!

Angie said...

I've had a serious love affair with books since I learned to read as a little child. These days I sometimes find myself fretting about the day that will probably come when there are no 'books' to even order. I have such a deep abiding relationship with bound paper that I can hold in my hand, feel, smell, pick up and put down, dog-ear pages and return to even years later. I am the same way now with quilting books and magazines. I don't even WANT to try to imagine MY world without hard copy books for me to hold and love.

Sue said...

I had no idea there were that many! Thanks for posting the list. I'm going to share with my DIL for her to choose some over the next few years for my grandson. Several years ago, a niece had a baby, I made a quilt, of course, and with it I gave a copy of The Quilt Story. The niece was thrilled with both. I got probably the nicest thank-you I've ever gotten, with a picture of the baby lying on the quilt (no, it wasn't the quilt from the book).

quiltmom anna said...

It is a fabulous list Michele, I often read the Quiltmaker's Gift to older classes when we do a rotation for Read In Week. I have a number of the books on the list including the Keeping Quilt, THe Quilt by Ann Jonas, the Mother Earth and her children and Serena and the BearPaw Quilt.
I do love collecting children's books and the quilt stories are wonderful to read.
Thanks for sharing the list. There is some great books on it.
Warmest regards,

SewCalGal said...

Great post Michele. Thanks for sharing this impressive list. I definitely want to use it to buy some books. Thanks for sharing!

And, the Velveteen Rabbit is one of my favorites. I give it as gifts and love to encourage reading to kids. Very important!


June D said...

Thank you for compiling this comprehensive list!

: )

Mary Couch said...

I am passing this list on to my daughter, a school librarian, and two nieces who are elem. teachers. Your hard work is greatly appreciated.
Hugs from Mary

Quiltdivajulie said...

1. LOVE the new look of your blog - LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT!

2. You need to check with Mrs. Goodneedle (From the Strawberry Patch) - she is a collector of quilt-themed children's books.

Another tremendous resource list!!!

Rosalyn Manesse said...

What a fine job of research! I must forward this to my daughter,who is a children's librarian.

Miki Willa said...

This is an amazing list of books. Thank you so much for sharing it. Some of them I knew, but many are new to me.

LadyRizzo said...

I came across your blog & wanted to offer my new book I just self-published via CreateSpace!
It was released on CreateSpace yesterday and will hit the Amazon marketplace next week!

I am sooo excited to share this with everyone because it is my way of paying tribute to my late Granny & her love of quilting! I hope you enjoy it, as well. I made it with children aged around 7 to 10. :)