Many families have cherished Patricia Polacco's picture book, THE KEEPING QUILT, the book that tells the story of the family quilt pieced together from scraps of clothing that recall wonderful occasions and relations. This is a companion book to that story.
Great-grandmother Anna lived near the Tver River in Russia when she was a little girl with her mother, her papa and her baby sister, Magda. Their life was made difficult by the soldiers of the czar who would come knocking and harrassing the Jewish families. One day Anna's family learned all Jewish families had to leave Russia and they packed up all that they could carry in a cart and set out on the road.
The days that followed were grim and gray and the illustrations mirror the darkness with occasional small spots of red highlighting the important things. Being together was the most important thing for Anna's family.
One of the treasures they made sure to bring along was a wondrous tea set given as a gift to Anna's mother by her aunt Rebecca in Minsk. The tea set was magic. "Anyone who drinks from it has a blessing from God..... They will know love and joy... and they will never be poor."
So the tea set came with them and they slowly made their way day after day with Papa pulling the cart until the moment came when Papa collapsed unable to take another step.
This is a story of the oppression of the Jewish families in Russia and the flight of this special family with all of its riches all the way to America. This is the story of generosity and kindness even among strangers. This is a story about accepting those who are different and seeing with new eyes what really makes someone rich and blessed.
The storytelling is masterful as always with its steady voice recalling the tale just as though telling it to a young family member who has never heard it before. The art is heartfelt and personal as though you're paging slowly through a family album looking at photo after photo and learning about each family member.
This is a story of a time in history with its dark discrimination and a time in a family with its struggles and its light. Meaningful, masterful and poignantly wise.
Ages 7-11 40 pages 978-1442450479