Teaching Economics with Children’s Literature: The Promise Quilt


The Promise Quilt, written by Candice F. Ransom and illustrated by Ellen Beier, takes place in the rural South during the Civil War. When Addie loses her father to the war, her mother stuggles to feed the family and Addie’s dreams of attending school have to be put on hold. When the war was over, the school had no money to purchase books for the children and was going to close down. Addie’s mother has a brilliant idea to earn money: she stitches a quilt to auction off for money in town. There is one problem: there is not enough material to finish the quilt. Addie makes the difficult decision to  surrender her father’s red shirt that she loves to the quilt. Although she lost her beloved memory of her father, she was able to afford to get books for the school.

Curriculum Connections
This story is a good introduction to the idea of making decisions and the opportunity cost associated with choice. There is also an example of using money in smart ways. Addie finds one of her father’s silver coins and instead of spending it carelessly or saving it as a memory she chooses to buy seed that will feed her family. Addie learns the lesson that she can’t have everything she wants.
SOLs: K.7,  1.8,  2.9

Additional Resources
Incorporate this story in a math lesson!

Book: The Promise Quilt
Candice F. Ransom
Ellen Beier
Walker & Company
Publication Date:
Grade Range:

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