The Quilt

ISBN: 0440229367
ISBN 13: 9780440229360
By: Gary Paulsen

Check Price Now


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

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.


simply endearing


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.


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

Shelton TRL

A very nice story of a six-year-old boy who finds himself living with his grandmother during WWII. When the grandmother is called to help a cousin who is having a baby, the boy learns the stories of his family members who have passed away from other women in the family who come to help. Clothing from the deceased have been stitched into a very special quilt. While waiting for the arrival of the baby the women bring out the quilt, reminisce and share the stories with the boy.


This is my first Gary Paulsen book, and it was a delightful read. WWII has a major impact on "the boy", and he finds his father at war, and his Mother unable to care for him properly. The boy goes to live with his Grandmother, and learns much about his Norwegian heritage, life on the farm in Minnesota, and life's cycle. And what a wonderful tradition "The Quilt" is for this small community.

Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)

The book was well written but I found the fact that "the boy" has no name distracting and annoying. A child at that age is the centre of his or her own universe, everything references to them, and yet he has no name, no identity? I hardly think so. At that age, many children make names for themselves if they don't like the one they were given (I know this from experience). Yes, he pretends to be Roy Rogers, but he has no name for himself? Not even calling himself "Roy"?The vibe I picked up was, curiously, one of anger and resentment--on the part of the author, not his characters. "The boy" is curiously passive, probably because there's really not much detail about his actions beyond "playing all day" (in so few words) and falling asleep. At that age, children live a rich imaginative life, and yet this boy is almost background. The only thing he seems to think about is that men are useless, men are ineffective, men are not there. Curious coming from a male author. I don't know. I just didn't enjoy it much. I felt there could have been much more. Was the "quilt" ever actually finished? Dissatisfying, like the last slice of bread in the breadbin. Where's the rest of it?

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


This is the 3rd book in a series of books that gary Paulsen wrote about times he spend with his grandmother. He is a boy of 6 and learns what war can do to a family. His grandmother makes a quilt with a square for all those in the family who have passed. It takes place during WWII

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.


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.

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.

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.


It was a sad story, but I liked it.


Checked out for my 7 y.o. to read, since Gary Paulsen's books are adventure filled....but I read it within 30 minutes...and I understand more about the author and the beginnings of his life as an 12 y.o. boy, and a deep appreciation of WOMEN POWER!!!

Share your thoughts

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *