New York Times Best Selling Author

The Quilt Walk

"Solid writing and a close attention to details make this story more than the sum of its parts. Finely stitched.”
—Kirkus Reviews

"Dallas’s story delivers a satisfying child’s-eye view of America’s westward expansion.”
—Publisher Weekly

Ho for Colorado! It’s 1864, and Thomas Hatchett has just told his family they will move west. He’ll sell the farm, buy a covered wagon, and load it with construction supplies. Pa plans to build a business block in the frontier town of Golden, Colorado. There is no place in the wagon for trunks of clothes, so Ma and their daughter, Emmy Blue, must put on their dresses, one on top of the other, and wear them all the way to Golden.

Ma knows the West means freedom for a man and is a place where Pa can have a better life, but for her, it means leaving behind everything she cares for and loves. A courageous and strong woman with a stout heart, Ma accepts Pa’s decisions the way she accepts dandelions—because she can’t do a thing about them.

But what about ten-year-old Emmy Blue? Part of the little girl wants the excitement of going to a new place where the family might become rich. After all, Golden is the Wild West. She’d be busy watching out for Indians and hunting for gold. But the other part of her wants to stay in Illinois, with her friends and grandparents.

During her final good-bye, Grand Mouse gives Emmy Blue tiny fabric pieces. Concerned that Colorado is no place for a proper young lady, Grandma Mouse is determined that Emmy Blue learns to sew. Emmy Blue’s journey west becomes a quilt walk.

Author’s Note

Not long after The Quilt That Walked to Golden, my history of quilting in Colorado and the mountain states, was published in 2004, a friend challenged me to turn the title story into a children’s book. I wrote a draft, but it was the wrong length for the genre, and I put it aside. When Sleeping Bear Press approached me about writing a book for children, I was intrigued. I’d grown up with the “Little House” books, which is where my interest in western history began, and I decided to get serious about The Quilt Walk, as I’d titled the book.

I wanted to write more than just an adventure story about a little girl who goes west, however. I don’t set out to write message books (although they sometimes turn out that way.) Still, I wanted Emmy Blue, my little heroine, to mature, to realize that life has problems and challenges as well as happy events. So Emmy Blue learns about domestic abuse and about lack of options for women in 1864 America. I don’t hit young readers over the head with the status of Victorian women—after all, this is an adventure story–but these themes are woven into the fabric of Emmy Blue’s journey from Illinois to Colorado. I want to entertain young readers, but I also want to make them think.

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