Quilt Time with Kids at The Shelter
I gathered the small group on the quilt and right away the kids began telling me what they knew about Dr. King. One young boy seemed surprised to see the book, picturing Dr. King as a boy. The young boy on the quilt looked very much like young Martin, on his bike.
I used a story to get the kids thinking about the dreams that Dr. King hoped for. In the story, I told about a Dream Quilt, that was larger than a football field. It was pieced together like a puzzle, with fabrics of all kinds, cut in every shape imaginable. The kids shouted out shapes from hexagons to hearts. They named fabrics like silk and cotton and golden cloth! They called out all their favorite colors.
People in the Story
The story continued with the help of the kids, imagining all the people who came to the magical Dream Quilt. They described the unusual kinds of clothing and hats the people in the story might wear. One boy mentioned a Sikh turban, which shouldn't have surprised me. The group of children was about as diverse as the people in the story. They had been delivered to my quilt by their mothers... one who spoke Mandarin to her son...another who wore a sari and another who wore a hijab. These children had lots to teach me.
The kids added their own dreams or wishes for what would make the world a better place. Corny? Not when you're 7 or 10. These children had some pretty magical descriptions of the perfect world where people work and play together. (Evidently dinosaurs would make the world even more perfect)
I gave the kids their own Dream Quilt sheets to design. One little boy didn't want to make one, but he gave me a lot of good words to write in the shapes. Equality, Friendship, Peace. And the young ones, just enjoyed drawing the things they love. Who doesn't love a Pretty Pony?
"Yeah, it looks good!" Another boy added, "If you didn't have those earrings on your ears, you'd look just like a man!" He said it with such enthusiasm, all I could do was grin!
What Did I Learn?
For 20+ years children have called it the Magic Quilt. They've danced and pretended all over these colorful squares. I've dragged it to schools, shelters and studios where children have climbed on top to hear Magic Quilt Stories and to act them out.