Quilting for literacy

Quilting meets literacy at the Brooklyn Children’s Museum, where a lovely little children’s library lives on the second floor. It’s currently home to a touring exhibit of cheerful quilts including squares created by beloved children’s book illustrators.

The literacy quilts were designed by retired NYC school librarian Muriel Feldshuh, who began writing letters to children’s book illustrators in 1997, asking them to create works for a quilt celebrating the millenium. After 26 of the illustrators decorated muslin squares as requested, the project grew to include six different quilts — including one that’s Brooklyn-based, and features the artwork of Mo Williams, Melissa Iwai, Ezra Jack Keats and others.

Feldshuh is now a library consultant, and serves on the child literacy and author board for Books for Kids, an organization that promotes literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low-income and at-risk preschool-aged children — creating libraries, donating books and partnering with literacy programs to “develop the critical early foundation and skills which young children need to be successful in life.”

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Here in the Valley, folks are gearing up for “Love to Read AZ,” a celebration of reading sponsored by Bookmans and Friends of the Phoenix Public Library at the Burton Barr Central Library in Phoenix.

The Sat, March 24 event (11am-2pm) promoting literacy features story times, crafts, music, face painting, puppets, mini-train rides and all sorts of activities for children and families.

Think performances by the Great Arizona Puppet Theater. Family photos in the Bookmans Story Time Photo Booth. Casual BYOC (bring your own camera) photo opps with Curious George and other book-related characters. Even a musical intrument parade.

A dozen or so organizations, including Raising Arizona Kids Magazine, will be on hand to chat with parents. Many will share tips and strategies for fostering a family love for reading. Click here to see a lovely list from Bookmans.

Books make for wonderful explorations both locally and on the road. Visit community libraries and museums when traveling with your children. But don’t forget the treasures all around us right here at home.

— Lynn

Note: Click here to learn about the Children’s Museum of Phoenix, here for details about the Tucson Children’s Museum and here for information on a special museums roundup from The New York Times that includes Arizona’s own Heard Museum.

Coming up: Last chance for love, Exploring the very first children’s museum

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One response to “Quilting for literacy

  1. Muriel Feldshuh

    Hello Lynn,
    I was so happy to see this article about my Traveling Quilt Exhibit Celebrating Children’s Books in your blog. My quilts have been traveling across the United States and have visited many children’s museums including The Children’s Museum of Phoenix. I now have 6 quilts that include the art squares of 165 Children’s Book Illustrators and some squares that have quotes from Children’s Book Authors. When they were on exhibit in Phoenix in 2008 I had sewn 3 quilts. My project is still growing and I am beginning to work on another quilt. I have been a champion for children’s books most of my life and enjoy sharing my love of literature with children and adults. I was interviewed by one of your local newspapers in 2008 when they learned about my exhibit. I enjoyed sharing my work with the Phoenix community and really enjoyed reading your blog.

    Thank you so much for mentioning me and my exhibit.
    Muriel Feldshuh
    Brooklyn, N.Y.

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