Monday, April 19, 2021

A Trip to the Islands--Quilting in Children's Literature

The two children's books I'd like to highlight today are both set in the Hawai'ian Islands: Luka's Quilt by Georgia Guback and The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather's Story by Anthony D. Fredericks

Luka's Quilt is a story about a girl and her grandmother making a flower garden quilt together. Tutu (grandmother) makes a traditional Hawai'ian quilt with only two colors, and Luka is disappointed that the quilt doesn't have the many colors of her own flower garden. In the end, Luka and Tutu find a way to bring together tradition and innovation in a lovely compromise.

This book explores the idea of tradition and its evolution. The lovely illustrations are cut-paper collage with many details to enjoy.

If you would like to hear the book read, there is a YouTube video HERE

Guback, Georgia. Luka's Quilt. Greenwillow, 1994.

ISBN:  978-0688121549




The Tsunami Quilt:Grandfather's Story is also set in Hawai'i. It explores the relationship between a boy and his grandfather while addressing a historical event as well. After his beloved grandfather's death, Young Kimo discovers the reason for his grandfather's yearly pilgrimage to place a lei on a stone monument. 

The quilt in this book is one of remembrance of the 01 April 1946 tsunami at Laupāhoehoe Point. The quilt is housed in the Pacific Tsunami Museum in Hilo, Hawai'i. The squares around the border of the quilt contain the names of 24 students who lost their lives. Kimo finds a deeper understanding of his grandfather through this quilt.

The illustrations, painted in lovely, soft colors by Tammy Yee, are both of the present-day Kimo's story as well as the time of the devastating tsunami.

This book highlights the purpose of a quilt as a lasting memorial. The book also includes an Author's Note with more information about this historical event.

Fredericks, Anthony D. The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather's Story. Illustrated by Tammy Yee. Thomson,     Gale: 2007.

ISBN: 978-1585363131


These books show two very different uses of a quilt in children's literature. In Luka's Quilt, the quilt is central to the telling of the story. In The Tsunami Quilt, the quilt is used as a vehicle for the author to inform the readers about a historical event, and it shows the quilt as a reminder, a memorial, of people affected by that event.

Thanks for reading! 📕


 A reminder--you can find my posts on Quilts in Children's Literature by clicking "Children's Literature" in the list of labels on the right-hand pane of this blog.

NOTE: I found my books used from I can highly recommend this site. Not only do they always have free shipping, but they also contribute a book to someone in need for every book you buy. I was not compensated for this recommendation--I just love doing business with them!





  1. I hadn't heard of either of these books. I love history and quilts. Thanks for the website. I hadn't heard of it before.

    1. It was a new story to me as well. Thanks for visiting.


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Happy Quilting,
The Eclectic Abuela