It's winter. Time for reflection on warmth and comfort, two things grandparents most definitely provide freely and lovingly to their grandchildren. As I sit here wrapped in a blanket, sipping hot coffee, and pondering what to write about for this blog post, my thoughts wander to childhood days snuggled on the couch lost in a literary journey. BOOKS! So many wonderful books!
We are, if nothing else, a family of avid readers. Books and music fill our days and expand our horizons. Having already written of our musical adventures, I thought, "Why not write some reviews of favorite children's books from time to time?" So, here we go! It wouldn't be winter without snuggling under a quilt with a good book, and this first review just happens to be about quilting.
The Quiltmaker's Gift by Jeff Brumbeau, illus. by Gail de Marcken
Recommended age: 4 and up
I cannot possibly say enough great things about this book! Many grandparents are also quilters. And if you are, I highly recommend you have this book in your library to read to your grandchildren when they visit. The joy of giving is told through this delightful story of a woman who makes the most beautiful quilts in the kingdom, but does not sell them. Instead, she gives them to the poor or homeless. Once the village king hears of her talent, he demands that she give him one. The king owns many precious things, yet always wants more, more, more in his relentless and hopeless quest to be happy. Alas, her quilts are only for the poor, no one can buy them, and she tells him so. But he must have one of her famous quilts! What will he have to do to own one? Eventually he realizes that only generosity and selflessness can make him truly happy.
Savor each page as you read this tale together, for the illustrations are remarkable and plentiful. I read the text, then went back and read it again to soak in the artwork. Make the pages interactive and have your children search and discover all the wonderful items throughout the book! (Spoiler Alert! Of course the king gets his quilt at the end of the story. Look closely and you will notice the quilt maker incorporated objects the king once owned into her design of the quilt she made just for him. So, in a way, he doesn't lose his riches after all.)
Every quilt pattern tells a story. If you quilt, you can bring this art form to life for your little ones by explaining what the patterns represent, or why you chose to make a certain quilt. We own a wedding ring quilt that my grandmother made for my parents and it was handed down to me. Well worn, it is one of my most prized and loved possessions.
I love it when a book can be more than just a story. Quilters and non-quilters alike will enjoy the activities and games, stories from around the world, contests and prizes and conversations with the author to be found at www.quiltmakersgift.com. Best of all, true to their desire to spread the spirit of generosity, the author and illustrator, along with Scholastic Inc., send proceeds from sales of the book to organizations that support that same spirit: ABC Quilts, SOS Children's Villages-USA, The Heifer Project, Doctors Without Borders, and New York Cares.
Keep warm, happy reading and stay tuned for the next grandparent/grandchild book review! And as Grampy always says,