When I was thinking of a new book for this week, I started to think of my favorite books, authors, and illustrators to see if I might try a new title by a familiar name. And then as I heard national weather reports that included blizzards, sunshine, and tornadoes all in one day, I started thinking about how powerful and sometimes frightening the weather can be. Suddenly, I remembered one of my favorite books that helped me get through the lion of March as a child: Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. As I looked over all of her wonderful books, one in particular jumped out at me: The Keeping Quilt.
You see, I come from a family where quilts are not only loved and admired, but kept and passed down to the next generation. It’s not surprising then that a book with the title The Keeping Quilt would pique my interest. I was not disappointed by this simple story of tradition and the passing of time. The keeping quilt in this story was made by the narrator’s (that is, the author’s) great-grandmother and great-great-grandmother. As it happens, most of the quilts in my family were made by my great-grandmother as well.
The keeping quilt serves a role in many of life’s important moments like weddings, welcoming a new baby, a tablecloth for family meals and birthdays, and as a way to remember the past. I also enjoyed reading about the tradition of incorporating gold, flowers, salt, bread, and a sprinkle of wine in the wedding bouquets of the family brides over the years. The gold so the bride may never know poverty, the flowers so the bride may always know love, the salt so life would always have flavor, the bread so the bride would never know hunger, and finally the wine so the bride may always have laughter. What a lovely wish for the start of a new family.
The Keeping Quilt is a wonderful book about the ties that bind, and the quilts that give their warmth through memories.