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THE MEMORY QUILT is a story of hope and healing for those who have experienced the loss of a loved one. This story explores how the gift of sewing love can help one cope with the pain of grief.
During Christmas 2018, we were invited to a friend’s house for dinner. Although we hadn’t known them for long, we were aware of their son’s passing. It was during this dinner that his twin brother brought out a memory quilt he had made from his deceased brother’s clothes, which he had given to his parents the previous year. I was struck by the beauty and sentiment of the quilt and knew this story needed to be shared with others who were grieving.
When I first had the idea of this children’s story, I wasn’t actively pursuing that genre. I tucked the idea away in my mind until 2021 when I decided to start writing for a younger audience. The Memory Quilt was one of the first I wrote, and I submitted it in its initial form to a writing contest. Although it didn’t win, I saved it in my folder of stories and continued writing. Fast-forward to 2023, when I revisited the story and began making revisions. I submitted it to Caterpillar Books, and they loved it so much that they decided to publish it.
Over the years, I have unfortunately known many people who have lost a child through different circumstances. When I wrote THE MEMORY QUILT, I purposely avoided giving a reason for Jason’s death so that the story could be relatable to anyone who reads it.
Alyssa Grizenko is the talented illustrator behind THE MEMORY QUILT. To reach a broader audience, I requested that the characters be more realistic rather than the typical cartoonish figures found in children’s books.
Additionally, I suggested a softer color palette to create a serene atmosphere, as opposed to the bright, vivid colors frequently seen in picture books. This was also to enable parents to make an informed decision about whether the book was appropriate for their child by simply glancing at the cover.
To emphasize the importance of memory quilts, I included a brief section at the end of my book that delves into their historical significance. I would love to see this practice continue to be passed down for many generations to come, becoming a beloved and honored tradition.
My hope for THE MEMORY QUILT is that it will be seen as more than just a children’s book—It will be a catalyst for a meaningful conversation about death. The soft colors and gentle storytelling of this book create a welcoming atmosphere, drawing readers into a world where sorrow and laughter intertwine. As you follow Grace and Jason’s journey, you’ll encounter the bittersweet memories they shared which offer a sense of comfort and hope for those experiencing grief.
Author Bio: Lori lives in Florida with her wonderful husband and daughter. When she's not busy writing or illustrating, she's with her family at the beach or cruising in their car blasting music with the sunroof open. You can often find her snuggled up with a book and a cup of coffee, lost in a world of adventure.
THE MEMORY QUILT releases January 9, 2024, with Caterpillar Books. Lori also has a young adult novel, BUTTERFLY INK releasing June 4, 2024, and a lower middle grade novel, ANGELS IN THE SAND releasing January 2025.
Socials: @LoriMKeating on both Twitter and Instagram
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