Book Review: The Name Quilt

Do you ever have a book that just wraps you up like a warm blanket? It draws you in and tells you a sweet story and leaves you feeling like someone just wrapped you in a blanket and gave you a mug of hot chocolate. That’s what the book The Name Quilt by Phyllis Root did for me. Ironically, it’s about a quilt, and maybe that’s why I felt so warm and fuzzy after reading it. 

The Quilt and Grandma's Stories

The Name Quilt tells the story of a little girl and her grandma. Grandma has a quilt where she has sewed names of family members into each square. In many squares are scraps of fabric that have special meaning for these family members, such as fabric from the grandma’s wedding dress. But it’s more than just a quilt, it’s a quilt full of family history, and all the family stories the grandma remembers. And every night when the little girl, Sadie, is visiting, her grandma tells her a story of someone in the quilt.

The stories are everything you’d want to hear curled up under a quilt with your grandma at your side. They’re full of humor and detail and make you feel like you were there. You can see the little boy getting stung by all the hornets and the bear in the walnut tree. It made me fall in love with family stories all over again.

Making Your Own Name Quilt

So Ellie and I made our own name quilts out of construction paper. We divided each paper into squares and wrote down names of people important to us in the squares and decorated them with designs that went with each person. I noticed in the book that she even had a square for a dog so I included my childhood pets in my quilt. Ellie made one with her brother and all her cousins. While we worked, we shared stories and I told Ellie about my pets when I was a child. We can pull them out later and I can tell Ellie all about how my cat Ariel followed me around everywhere and how she sat on my dad’s shoulder when she was a kitten. I could tell her about my memories of the day my little brother was born and how I remember playing in snow forts at recess but I don’t actually remember the moment I met him in the hospital. I could tell her about how my sister and I would build chalk cities on the driveway and put all our Beanie Babies in the tree in the front yard. Later, we may make a real name quilt and Ellie can tell stories later on about how she and her cousins would play with her kitten and how she and her brother loved to play in their sandbox together. The name quilt serves as a jumpstart for all the stories you remember about special people.

Your Turn! 

Want to make your own name quilt? Download a free printable template here, and make sure you make one too! The whole family can share stories as you draw out the names and decorate the squares. Jumpstart your own storytelling name quilt and share your stories with us too in the comments!

Want to learn more about family history for kids? Check out this post about ways to turn your family history into creative writing, and don’t forget to subscribe to receive your free e-book Writing Family History for Kids: A Workbook & Guide.

Happy storytelling!


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