I first heard this story during my Speech Pathology “student teaching”. It was performed in a play by elementary school students. It was eight year olds forgetting their lines and stumbling around the stage. It was beautiful.
This book is one of those “instant classics”. If you have not yet read it, go find it immediately and read it. Your heart will melt. Your eyes will be dazzled. The story is about a magical woman who makes the most exquisite quilts in all the land. She does not sell them; she gives them only to the poor. A greedy king desperately wants one of these quilts and tries to force one from her. But she will only give him one if he gifts all his possessions and becomes poor himself. In frustration and longing for a quilt, he begins to give his things away. After discovering the joy of giving, he continues for years until he is penniless. He is happier than he has ever been, and he too receives a quilt.
Speech Therapy ideas:
Because of it’s gorgeous illustrations, this book has a lot of potential for enriching language skills.
1. There is a quilt at the beginning of each page of text. Match the quilt to it’s name (front or back of the book). Why do you think the illustrator chose that quilt to go on this page in the story?
2. Most of the pages are rich with different story scenes that the text does not talk about. Which of the scenes comes first? Which comes second? What is happening in the scenes?
3. Several of the pages contain illustrations that are not talked about in the text. For example, there is a large spider and spider web on one page. Why do you think those pictures are there? What might they mean?
4. On the page that shows the kings throne room and his thousands of possessions, work on categories. For a child with younger language skills, have them find toys, foods, things made from wood, etc. For a child with advanced language skills, have them find things as described in the text (magical, whimsical, etc.).
5. Describe what the king is giving away. Guess why the king gave what he did to the people pictured.
6. Retell the story. Use as much description as possible. Use the pictures in the story if necessary.
7. Look at the quilt pictures in the front and back of the book. Describe the quilts using color words, shape words, and patterns. Which one is your favorite and why.
8. Vocabulary to identify, define, and label: sparrow, cobblestone, whimsical, mysterious, waltzing