Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Remember When . . . Everything Had a Story?

In our homeschooling, we read one children's book each of the school days and discuss a different aspect of it each day. This week we're reading The Rag Coat by Lauren Mills, which takes place in turn-of-the-century Appalachia, in a coal-mining town. The premise is that the character, Minna, is too poor to afford a coat, so all the mothers of the community pool their scraps and quilt her a multi-colored coat that she says is like Joseph's coat of many colors. She loves it because each scrap is a story, and now she carries a piece of each of her friends with her to keep her warm.

Being from the Appalachians ourselves, I'm loving this book. It's so cool to see visuals of that era-gone-by, and I've been amazed at how much Xoe actually knows about it. I can point to any of the old-fashioned things in the illustrations, and she'll say, "Oh, that's the thing that blows out air on the fire" (a bellows) and "that's the tub with the stick in it that you make butter with" and "that's an oil lamp, silly--it looks like the one on our shelf! Remember, you got it from Gran-nan!"

I love this because as she identifies everything, she puts a story to it--just like Minna with her coat. It was all "Nonna has one of those" and "That was in that story you read to us before, about the pancake." Our assignment for the story yesterday involved that storytelling aspect, and it recommended we get down a quilt and recall the stories in the squares. But, alas, we don't have a quilt quite like that.

It was in casting around for something similar, though, that I realized my daughter does this already, with everything. There's no such thing as as simple answer with her. Everything's a story. It's never just, "Look at my new sparkly red shoes." It's "Look at my new sparkly red shoes--they're like that girl's from the Oz movie, with the wizard and the lion and the man made of metal, and she clicked them together . . . " =)

I love that about my sweet little girl. And I love the storytelling tendency in general. Do you have a memento or heirloom that's your favorite, not because of monetary worth, but because of the story attached? I'd love to hear it!


  1. This is a neat post! Thanks for sharing.

    I either read that book as a child or one similar. :)

  2. Reminds me of a book I used in my story-telling workshop a couple of weeks ago, The Memory Coat, about the immigration experience and the things we bring with us, or the things we leave behind.

  3. Are you using the Five in a Row curriculum? I'll have to search out that book at the library. It looks like one my daughter would love.

  4. Yep, and that's a FIAR selection. One of our favorites thus far. =)