The Quilt Walk
by Sandra Dallas
It's 1863 and 10-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett has been told by her father that soon their family will leave their farm, family, and friends in Illinois, and travel west to a new home in Colorado. It's difficult leaving family and friends behind. They might not see one another ever again. When Emmy's grandmother comes to say goodbye, she gives Emmy a special gift to keep her occupied on the trip. The journey by wagon train is long and full of hardships. But the Hatchetts persevere and reach their destination in Colorado, ready to start their new life.
- Dewey: F
- Hardcover (9781585368006): 216 pages, 5.5 (w) x 8 (h), © 2013, 09/01/2012
- Paperback (9781585367993): 216 pages, 5.5 (w) x 8 (h), © 2013, 02/01/2013
- PDF (9781627530163): 216 pages, © 2013, 04/15/2013
- Hosted ebook (9781627535489): 216 pages, © 2014, 08/15/2013
- Suggested Interest Level: Age 9 - Age 12
- Suggested Reading Level: Grade 5
- ATOS Reading Level: 4.8
- ATOS Interest Level: MG
- Accelerated Reader® Quiz: 153808
- Accelerated Reader® Points: 7.0
- JUVENILE FICTION / Historical / United States / 19th Century (JUV016140)
- JUVENILE FICTION / Girls & Women (JUV014000)
- 2014-2015 Volunteer State (TN) Book Award Intermediate Category, Short-listed, 2014
- 2014-2015 South Carolina Book Award Program, Short-listed, 2014
- Wrangler Award--Juvenile Book Division, Winner, 2013
- 2013 Paterson Prize for Books for Young People - Honor Book, Commended, 2013
- 2013 Willa Awards - Children/Young Adult Fiction & Non-Fiction Category Finalist, Short-listed, 2013
- Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Assoc. Reading the West Book Awards Shortlist--Children's Category, Short-listed, 2012
The Quilt Walk review - January SLJ
Reviewed on 1 January 2013
Gr 3-6–Ten-year-old Emmy Blue’s life on a farm near Quincy, Illinois, is just fine until her father announces that the family is moving to Colorado where gold is being mined. He hopes to build a store and sell supplies to miners. Emmy’s mother, Meggie, is not happy about the move and having to say good-bye to family and friends but, like other women of her time, does as her husband wishes. Emmy’s Uncle Will and Aunt Catherine travel west with them. The women take pride in their sewing abilities and try to interest Emmy in the handicraft, but she would rather play marbles with a boy in the wagon train. Later, she takes up quilting and is able to stitch and walk the trail at the same time. This novel is based on a true story, and one of the quilts that the family brought to Colorado is in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum in Golden. Snakes, Indians, wild animals and starvation are always potential threats to the group, but Emmy’s family is strong and they do not give up and join the “go-backers.” This is a great choice for those who enjoy Laura Ingalls Wilder’s books, quilting, and strong girl stories.
The Quilt Walk
Reviewed on 30 October 2012
It’s 1864, and when Pa announces that the family is heading west via wagon train to set up a business supporting gold mining in Colorado, Emmy Blue is game, though Ma hesitates, loath to leave friends and home. With more pressure from Pa, they go, and “Ma made up her mind to like it.” Emmy Blue narrates the grueling westward trek as privation and fear take their toll, as do rattlesnakes, family strife, and homesickness. (New friends, thankfully, do help build a sense of community.) Worst of all, at least for Emmy Blue, she is expected to piece squares of a quilt together as she walks. Quilting? Really? In time, however, the work becomes soothing and satisfying, as Dallas overlays the story with aspects of quilting and how important it was for pioneer women. Emmy’s rescue by an Indian after she becomes separated from the train seems like a prescribed attempt to balance the settlers’ many negative remarks about Indians, but the plot, characterizations, and drama add up to a strong historic adventure tale. — Anne O’Malley
A Review of "The Quilt Walk" in Reading Today
Reviewed on 17 October 2012
Conflicted about her father’s decision to leave the safety of their farm in Quincy, Illinois, for Golden, Colorado, where he plans to sell supplies to the gold miners, ten-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett is also excited about the adventure. From the beginning, the journey is not easy as Emmy’s mother and aunt must leave behind objects they cherish. As they head westward, Emmy is struck by how quickly luck can turn from good to bad. Although most of the travelers in the wagon train help each other out, there is one exception. Newlywed Mr. Bonner fails to pull his own weight, is arrogant and ill-tempered, and bullies everyone around him, particularly his bride, who constantly sports another bruise or sprain. The females in the party watch as his bullying escalates and look for avenues for her to escape. Although Emmy’s mother dutifully follows her husband’s wishes to head west, she puts her foot down at various points and asserts her wishes. Throughout the story, Emmy pieces together the parts of a small quilt her grandmother gave her when she left Illinois, a task she hates at first, but comes to enjoy in some ways, while many of the other women work on their own quilts along the way. The idea of making something beautiful and useful from fabric scraps is a powerful theme that is threaded throughout the storyline. This chapter book with a feminist slant provides insight into the roles women played as their men headed toward a different kind of life.
A Review of "The Quilt Walk" in SirReadALot
Reviewed on 21 August 2012
Children’s Books / Historical Fiction / Ages 9 & Up
The Quilt Walk by Sandra Dallas (Sleeping Bear Press)
“I’ll go. Pa, me and Skiddles.” I said, hugging my cat. I talked in a smatl voice, because Pa didn’t usually like me to speak up. Children should be seen and not heard, he told me often enough, although I was ten now and thought I had a right to voice my own opinions. I had learned a great deal about Colorado in school and knew it was a wild place, with gunslingers and Indians, outlaws and prospectors. It sounded much more exciting than Qulncy, Illinois, the town closest to our farm. Here I was expected to act like a young lady, to sit and quilt with Ma and to practice my embroidery."
- from the book
New York Times best-selling and award-winning author Sandra Dallas brings her much admired storytelling talent to middle-grade readers for the first time in The Quilt Walk. She is the author of eleven adult novels as well as ten nonfiction books.
It’s 1864 in The Quilt Walk and Thomas Hatchett has just told his family they will move West to strike it rich. He’ll sell the farm, buy a covered wagon, and load it with construction supplies. Pa plans to build a business block in the frontier town of Golden, Colorado.
When 10-year-old Emmy Blue’s father makes this announcement, the reaction to the news is as varied as the colors in one of their beloved hand-pieced quilts.
The Colorado Gold Rush is in full swing. Even with the exciting journey in front of them. Emmy and her parents cannot help mourning what they are forced to leave behind: friends, family, pets and markers in the cemetery for lost loved ones. However, Emmy’s mother is an example of courage and strength, encouraging everyone around her to see life as an adventure and an opportunity to help others.
Ma knows the West means freedom for a man. where her husband will have a better life, but for her it means leaving behind everything she cares for and loves. A courageous and strong woman with a stout heart. Ma accepts Pa’s decisions like she accepts dandelions – because she can’t do a thing about them. And what about their daughter, ten-year-old Emmy Blue?
Part of Emmy wants the excitement of going to a new place where her family might become rich. After all, Golden is the Wild West. She’d be busy watching out for Indians and hunting for gold. The other part of her wants to stay in Quincy, Illinois, with her friends and grandparents, and her cat, Skiddles.
Indian sightings, deadly snakes, a stray dog, new friends and the dreaded quilting hour all keep Emmy busy as they make the long crossing in their overburdened wagons. During her final good-bye, Grandma Mouse gives Emmy tiny fabric pieces. Concerned that Colorado Territory is no place for a proper young lady. Grandma is determined that Emmy learn to sew. Emmy’s journey west becomes a quilt walk. The journey is long and full of hardships and Emmy’s experiences along the way bring the period of westward expansion, as well as issues facing women, to life for young readers.
“Period details, engaging characters and clever plot twists will entice even the most discerning fans of historical fiction. Populated with brave and intelligent women, Dallas story is as much about Emmy’s journey toward womanhood as their journey toward the West. Solid writing and a close attention to details make this story more than the sum of its parts. Finely stitched.”
Inspired by a true incident in Colorado history, award-winning Western author Dallas with The Quilt Walk crafts an absorbing story in this debut middle-grade novel.
A Review of "The Quilt Walk" in Kirkus Reviews
Reviewed on 15 May 2012
When 10-year-old Emmy Blue Hatchett’s father announces that the family will be traveling from their home in Illinois to the frontier town of Golden, Colo., the reaction to the news is as varied as the colors in one of their beloved hand-pieced quilts.
It is 1863, and the Colorado Gold Rush is in full swing. Even with the exciting journey in front of them, Emmy and her parents cannot help mourning what they are forced to leave behind: friends, family, pets—and markers in the cemetery for lost loved ones. However, Emmy’s mother is an example of courage and strength, encouraging everyone around her to see life as an adventure and an opportunity to help others. Indian sightings, deadly snakes, a stray dog, new friends and the dreaded quilting hour all keep Emmy busy as they make the long crossing in their overburdened wagons. Period details, engaging characters and clever plot twists will entice even the most discerning fans of historical fiction. Populated with brave and intelligent women, Dallas’ story is as much about Emmy’s journey toward womanhood as their journey toward the West. Solid writing and a close attention to details make this story more than the sum of its parts.
Finely stitched. (Historical fiction. 8-12)
Author: Sandra Dallas
Sandra Dallas is the New York Times–bestselling author of The Quilt Walk and Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky. She has written ten nonfiction books and fourteen adult novels, including The Last Midwife, Prayers for Sale, The Diary of Mattie Spenser, and The Persian Pickle Club. A former Denver bureau chief for BusinessWeek magazine, she is the recipient of two National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Wrangler Awards, two Western Writers of America Spur Awards, and four Women Writing the West WILLA Awards. She lives in Denver. Visit her at www.sandradallas.com.
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