The Josephina Story Quilt


If you have a young or reluctant reader, The Josephina Story Quilt by Eleanor Coerr is a great choice, especially for girls. Written for readers in grades 2-4, it’s part of Harper Trophy’s “I Can Read” series.

In The Josephina Story Quilt, Faith and her family are headed west to California with other settlers in a wagon train. Before they leave, Faith convinces her father that she needs to bring Josephina, her old pet hen. Along the way, Josephina causes some problems, such as startling the cattle and horses and falling into the river while the wagons are trying to cross. She does save the supplies, however, as she alerts the settlers to a couple of robbers who have come to take their blankets.

As they travel, Faith’s mother gives her a bag of fabric scraps and encourages her to create quilt squares to commemorate different parts of their journey. Faith sews one representing a wagon wheel and another for the desert they crossed. When Josephina finally dies of old age, she sews one for her hen — a pine tree representing the place where the hen was buried. Her patches are finished when they arrive in California, and in her new home she completes the Josephina Story Quilt and remembers their adventures on the trail.

This book has short chapters, making it a great choice for readers who are just starting out or may be struggling. And there are so many ways to use it in your homeschool. After reading The Josephina Story Quilt, you might:

  • Have your student design a quilt square commemorating a recent event in her own life. Did she go to a birthday party? Maybe the square will feature a cake with candles. Did she give a music recital recently? Have her design a square featuring a music note. Did she plant a garden? A square with a flower or vegetable would tell that story. Have your student color it in with crayons or markers.
  • Have your student learn more about the pioneer days. Why did people leave the homes they knew to travel West? What dangers did they face other than those discussed in the story? How long did the trip take?
  • Start a sewing project with your student. It can be as simples as sewing yarn through holes made in a piece of felt or as complex as choosing a pattern and using a sewing machine.

Books are a great starting place for enrichment activities, and The Josephina Story Quilt is no exception!

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