Saturday, May 15, 2021

Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt--Quilting in Children's Literature

 History and Heritage are important elements of quilting in Children's Literature.

McKissack, Patricia C. Stitchin' and Pullin'; A Gee's Bend Quilt. Illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera. Random, 2008.

This book follows Baby Girl as she makes her first quilt with Mama, Grandma, and Great-Gran. The story is in verse, and covers not only Baby Girl's quilt, but also the events her family has experienced in the struggle for Civil Rights, and the history of Gee's Bend, Alabama.

One poem begins, "Mama told me, 'Cloth has a memory.'" Baby Girl learns the story behind the pieces of cloth she uses in her quilt--memories of family members and their stories--pieces of her history.

In the end, her quilt top complete, she sits at the quilting frame with the women so important to her:

. . . in a slow and steady rhythm. . .

patient hands that guide without force,

teach without punishment,

an old, old process,

women stitchin' and pullin'


This beautiful book, a patchwork of poetry, is illustrated with paintings by Cozbi A. Cabrera in vibrant colors, reminiscent of the Gee's Bend quilts themselves.

USPS Stamps honoring the Gee's Bend Quilts and Quilters, 2006

The book includes an Introduction by Matt Arnett of Tinwood Alliance and an Author's Note detailing McKissack's journey through quilting and Gee's Bend while researching and writing this book.

An article in Smithsonian magazine, "The Fabric of their Lives", gives more information about the quilters of Gee's Bend, and there are several books on the subject as well. The quilters have also begun selling some of the quilts on Etsy--you can read about that HERE.

Memory, heritage, history, family, community--this book encompasses them all through the theme of quilting.

Happy Quilting! 😺


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'm glad they have a children's book now. I won a Gee's Bend quilt kit years ago. I really should make that quilt.


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Happy Quilting,
The Eclectic Abuela