105 Ways to Give a Book

Poetry Friday: Stitchin’ and Pullin’

Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend QuiltStitchin’ and Pullin’: A Gee’s Bend Quilt, by Patricia McKissack, tells the story of a young girl growing up in a community of quilters. As a small child, she watches the quilting, and then under the tutelage of the women, she begins her own quilt. These women are making more than lovely quilts. With each stitch, they are keeping tradition and history alive. For generations, the quilts have combined the practical traits of reusing old fabric to make warm blankets with the creative endeavors of employing cloth and color to make art.

Patricia McKissack uses poetry to capture the journey of a girl on the path to making her own quilt, alongside the history of a particular community and a people. Illustrator Cozbi A. Cabera pulls out all stops on the palette, drenching us with the vibrant colors of the quilts and the stories they represent. This is a beautiful book that presents a different angle on African American history. The poems themselves are about quilts and relationships, tradition and community, heritage and history. For today, when I feel like I’m pulling together lots of pieces of my own projects, I’d like to share this poem:
Puzzling the Pieces
A quilt
is a puzzle made of cloth —
Squares of
red and white gingham;
Solid rectangles, print ones, too;
Dotted triangles and a few plaids mixed in.
Flowered circles and long, narrow strips,
spread out on the floor.
Now comes the puzzling —
mixing and matching
colors, shapes, and patterns;
Finding combinations of pieces that
fit like a puzzle — making a picture,
telling a story.
Poetry Friday round-up is hosted at The Holly and the Ivy. The schedule of upcoming hosts is available at KidLitosphere Central. Oh — don’t forget to find or write your post by February 23rd for the preferably-multimedia Carnival of Children’s Literature, with the easily workable theme We Love Kid Lit! I’m thinking of doing some audio stuff with the kids. It’s exciting.


Sherrie Petersen said...

Mother Reader, you always manage to find cool books I haven't seen before. Thanks for the poem, too!

Saints and Spinners said...

I'll have to look for this one.

Tonight, my aunt finished the vibrant queen-sized quilt made with pinwheel patterns and other triangles before she left town. Almost six years ago, she made a quilt for my daughter. When she made a quilt for my daughter's dolly, I said, "It's my turn, please!" The quilt is busy and colorful. I just love it.

Elaine Magliaro said...


Thanks for this review. I hadn't heard about this book until reading your post.

Anonymous said...

I have just purchased this book. Will read it in my weekends.