Quilts make an excellent topic for an interdisciplinary, thematic unit. A quilt theme is a great way to integrate math, art, history, and reading. This project is designed for the lower grades, but it could be adapted for other levels. Consider combining this theme with a history project such as the underground railroad, colonial days, or pioneers. You might also combine it with a cultural or family study project. Try it with a geometric shapes unit too. You can probably find enough quilt books for your students to work in pairs or groups of three with a book.
Click on the book covers for information from Amazon.

Title: The Quiltmaker's Gift
Author: Jeff Brumbeau
Publisher: Scholastic, 2001
ISBN: 1570251991
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A greedy king demands a quilt from an old quiltmaker.
Author and Illustrator Information: Book Website
Book Information: Book Website (links to all quilt blocks in book), Quiltmaker's Puzzle Activity

Title: Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt
Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Publisher: Random House, 1995
ISBN: 0679874720
Ages: 4-8
Summary: A young slave named Clara saves scraps and creates a quilt that depicts the route of the Underground Railroad.
Author Information: Deborah Hopkinson
Book Information: Teacher CyberGuide, Using Sweet Clara, WebQuest, Lesson

Title: Selina and the Bear Paw Quilt
Author: Barbara Smucker
Publisher: Dragonflyer, 1999
ISBN: 0517885786
Ages: 4-8
Summary: This story focuses on Mennonite family in Pennsylvania during America's Civil War that create a quilt from scrapes. The book features quilted borders and intricate cloth patterns in the illustrations.
Author Information: Author Page
Book Information: Lesson

Title: The Keeping Quilt
Author: Patricia Polacco
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 1988
ISBN: 0671649639
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Great Gramma Anna's hand made quilt from Russia is treasured at important family occasions.
Author Information: Author Website
Book Information: CyberGuide, Author WebQuest, Book Activity, Quilt of Many Colors, Teacher Vision Lesson

Title: The Log Cabin Quilt
Author: Ellen Howard
Publisher: Holiday, 1997 (reissued)
ISBN: 0823413365
Ages: 4-8
Summary: This book illustrates pioneer days, log cabins, and creating a quilt from scraps.
Author Information: Author Page, Author Address

Title: The Quilt-Block History of Pioneer Days
Author: Mary Cobb
Publisher: Millbrook, 1995
ISBN: 1562944851
Ages: 4-8
Summary: This story explains how quilt designs were developed during colonial and pioneer times. The book includes patterns.
Book Information: Lesson

Title: Quilting: Then and Now
Author: Karen B. Willing & Julie B. Dock
Publisher: Then and Now, 1994
ISBN: 0964182017
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Explores the history of quilting in America.

Title: Bess's Log Cabin Quilt
Author: D. Ann Love
Publisher: Yearling, 1996
ISBN: 0440411971
Ages: 7-12
Summary: Eleven-year-old Bess hopes to win money for the family by entering her log-cabin pattern quilt in a contest.
Ideas: This would be a good book for better readers who are ready for a chapter book.

Title: The Patchwork Quilt
Author: Valerie Flournoy
Publisher: Pearson Learning, 1985
ISBN: 0803700970
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Tanya's grandmother creates a patchwork quilt using scraps. When grandmother becomes ill, Tanya finishes the quilt.
Ideas: This "reading rainbow" book is good for reading aloud.
Book Information: Lesson, Anticipation Guide

Title: Sam Johnson and the Blue Ribbon Quilt
Author: Lisa Campbell Ernst
Publisher: William Morrow, 1983
ISBN: 0688015174
Ages: 4-8
Summary: Sam Johnson discovers the fun of sewing and tries to join the Rosedale Women's Quilting Club. When he's told that boys aren't aloud, he creates his own group. The borders on each page are a different quilt style.
Author Information: Author Page
Book Information: Piecing Together Prairies Lesson
Ideas: This "reading rainbow" book is good for reading aloud.
Other Quilt Books
The Boy and the Quilt by Shirley Kurtz
The Canada Geese Quilt by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock
Eight Hands Round by Ann Whitford Paul
Grandpa's Quilt by Betsy Franco - Rookie Reader
The Josefina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr
The Magic Quilt by Blair Thompson
The Promise Quilt by Candice Ransom
The Quilt by Ann Jonas
The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston and Tomie dePaola
Quilt Book Links
Jan Brett's books often feature quilts.

Technology Connections
Try some of the following activities using the software in your classroom, lab, or library:
  • KidPix or Paint Software. Use shapes to create your own quilt block.
  • Kidspiration or Inspiration. Create a diagram retelling one of the quilting stories. Create a diagram of a new quilt story.
  • Word Processor. Write a colonial or pioneer story about a quilt. Write about the scraps you might include in your own quilt.
  • Email. Trade KidPix quilt blocks with another class online. Create epostcards of your quilt blocks and describe their history.
  • Create your own email project.
  • Educational Software. Look for educational math software that contains practice with patterns.

Internet Connections
Thematic Starting Points
PBS: A Century of Quilts
Quilt Designs
Southern Quilting
Teacher Resources and WebQuests 
American Quilts - Grade 3
The Art of the Quilt
A Stitch in Time Webquest
Billion Dollar Quilt Quest - Grade 3
Create a Quilt
Exploring Math through Quilts
Geometry with Quilts
Language Arts: Quilts
Our Online Quilt Unit - Grade 1
Quaint Quilts Theme
Quilt Unit Ideas
Quilt Unit Plan
Quilt Quest - Middle/High School
Quilt WebQuest
Quilting Our Way Through Geometry
Quilts - Grade 1
Quilts and Children's Literature
Quilts by Design
Quilts Unit - Grades 1-2
Underground Railroad and Quilts
Related Words 










quilt club










quilt frame


log cabin

bear's paw


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Updated by Annette Lamb and Nancy R. Smith, 01/02. Updated 1/04.