Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Quilt Walk

Dallas, Sandra. 2012. The Quilt Walk. Ann Arbor, MI: Sleeping Bear Press. ISBN: 9781585368006.

It was1863 when her Pa announced that the family were to pull up roots and head out west to Golden Calorado, and ten-year-old Emmy Blue had mixed feelings. Excitement and adventure waited out west, but she would have to leave her family, friends even her cat in her hometown of Quincy, Illinois. Despite the chance of never seeing their loved ones again the Hatchett family started out on the Overland Trail to start a new life where the Colorado Gold Rush is in full swing. In attempts to make her a proper young lady and seamstress despite being so far away, Emmy Blue's grandmore gives her a parcel of fabric pieces that would create a minature log cabin quilt that could be stitched during her journey. Though extremely reluctant at first Emmy Blue grows to secretly enjoy quilting to the point that she would walk along the family wagon with her Aunt Catherine and stitch. Told through a child's eyes the historical details are effortelss written into the story that range from how diverse groups of families scarifice many things like their possessions to make the arduous journey to these groups make friends, facing accidents and death, families turning back to return their original homes, and the fears of encountering the American Indians. The book also wonderfully illustrateds the time period's gender roles, especially for women who "have a duty to their husband[s]" but who are also strong, brave, and educted. The encompassing theme of quilting, and how a wuilt itself can tell a story, is something that is typically focused on in a book about America's westward expansion and is a welcomed sight. Based on true events of a pioneer family, Sandra Dallas' first children's book is a beautifully stitched together book that is perfect for library collections and book clubs.

  • Ask the children how they would feel if their parents announced that they were leaving many things behind and moving to some place brand new.
  • Ask the children for their thoughts on the roles of the adults and children during the journey west.
    • Subsquently, ask them for thoughts on gender roles.
  • Share books that have colored images of quilts, especially ones that were made during the 19th century.
  • Share books about pioneers.
  • Have the children create their own quilting block, which can be done on paper and drawing or you can go the whole way and sew a block.