The Quilt

ISBN: 0440229367
ISBN 13: 9780440229360
By: Gary Paulsen

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Children's Children's Books Currently Reading Fiction Gary Paulsen Historical Historical Fiction To Read Transitional Chapter Young Adult

About this book

1944. Wartime. A six-year-old boy goes to spend the summer with his grandmother Alida in a small town near the Canadian border. With the men all gone off to fight, the women are left to run the farms. There’s plenty for the boy to do—trying to help with the chores, getting to know the dog, and the horses, cows, pigs, and chickens. But when his cousin Kristina goes into labor, he can’t do a thing. Instead, the house fills with women come to help and to wait, and to work on a quilt together. This is no common, everyday quilt, but one that contains all the stories of the boy’s family. The quilt tells the truth, past and future: of happiness, courage, and pain; of the greatest joy, and the greatest loss. And as they wait, the women share these memorable stories with the boy.From the Hardcover edition.

Reader's Thoughts


After reading Yellow Star (which was a great insight on the holocaust by the way) I found this book very dissapointing. Although the author was in the war at the time I didn't find it real enough for me. I think he was a bit to young to comprehend what the 'war' was as a 6-year-old. This was an easy read only about 80 pages and It would have been better with more detail. Another down point of the book was that it took 1/2 of it to get anywhere. Unfortunately i was a bit dissapointed in this read.


simply endearing

Julie Walter

Another good book by Paulsen. Sweet reflections of his grandmother and the tradition of the quilt. Probably not a book that I would read to a class or recommend to younger students. Theme of pregnancy and labor throughout the story could prompt many questions


it was just a little story really...I read it in 30 min. Made me thankful for community, family, and grandparents!

Becky Savoie

Super short (less than 100 pgs) middle grade read. Yes, younger kids COULD read it, but be aware there's a little big older of content at least hinted at in the book that you might not want a 2nd grader reading. At least, if it were my 2nd grader...But I thought this was nice slice-of-life kind of story, and it gives a little insight to country living during WWII. Liked this one for sure.

Sandra Stiles

I loved this book. Even though it was a short book it was full of life. Gary Paulsen has written of his experiences while living with his grandmother while his father is in the war and his mother is working in a munitions factory. While staying with his grandmother they must go to his cousin Kristina’s house to help out as the birth of her first child is near. He finds himself in the middle of a group of women who have all arrived to help. When the labor is slow to progress they bring out the family quilt. This is where he sits and learns the family history as they recount the reason for each patch in the quilt.

Rebekah Choat

Synopsis:This book tells of a time a young boy spends with his grandmother while his father is away fighting in World War II and his mother is working in a munitions factory. The Norwegian farming community in northern Minnesota is far removed in every way from Chicago - life is quieter here, not easier but simpler. It is a world virtually without men, peopled by hardy women more than adequate to the task of keeping the farms running while their husbands and sons are overseas. While there, the boy learns much about birth and death, about life going on, about his own heritage and the traditions that keep memory alive.Comments:Paulsen captures the mood of the story well, both in content and style. It's a simple story, simply told yet rich in detail, carrying a flavor of comfortable homeyness while avoiding overly sweet sentimentality.


REQUIRED AUTHOR: GARY PAULSENThis book tells the story of a little six-year-old boy who goes to live with his grandma for a summer. During that time he goes with his grandma to visit his cousin's house to help her when she gives labor. There, he learns about the quilt that these women have made. A patchwork containing a square from each of the people they have loved that have passed on. The boy comes to discover the importance of love and the importance of memory. I really loved this book. In part, it was because I grew up with a quilter as a mom. I know the beauty and significance of patchwork quilts and I loved the way this quilt was described in this book.I would recommend this to any teen ages 10 and up. Maybe even younger.

Alyssa Linden

I loved this bookI loved this bookthis book is a very simple book that I would use to teach children about death and war. only bad thing I have to say is I wish it was longer.


it is amazing.


This was in interesting look at strong, rural, immigrant women surviving farm life without the men, during WWII, from a boy's viewpoint. One reason I started this series is that it is factual, about the author's life. The boy's impressions of the community ladies coming together to help out and continue the oral history and quilting tradition during a birth is touching. The story isn't especially deep, but I liked it because it was from a kid's viewpoint, with strong sensory descriptions that have the slight hazy vagueness of memory. Not all the details are included and that still works.

Lissa Chandler

A short novel, Paulsen branches away from the style he is known for, placing a six-year-old boy with his grandmother as she travels to help a friend deliver a baby. The novel is extremely poignant as the boy learns about life and death, making him realize that nothing is a guarantee. This is a wonderful read and is appropriate for anyone who is able to read.


Gary Paulsen is a great author. (Hatchet) I was particularly drawn to this title due to my obsession with them (quilts) I was not disappointed. Today we make quilts from "designer" lines of fabric. This story told of an era where the "quilt told the story and the story was our past". Great book.


For a six year old boy, there is hope and a promise in his family. During World War II when his mother fails him, his grandmother steps in and fills the awesome gap. This is a touching account of the strength of connection. The boys mother brings other men home while his father is away in the war. This topic may be slightly problematic if you read it aloud to a class full of inquiring 5th grade minds.


Sweet and subtle tale of a six year old boy who accompanies his grandmother to care for his cousin who is about to give birth. Set in 1940's small-town Minnesota, it's a quiet mediation on family and living and dying.

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