First, head over to the list of frequently challenged or banned books (here) and pick a book. Once you have your book in mind, you have a few decisions to make in regards to the kind of mini quilt you want to make. You can simply take a look on Amazon and remake the cover of the book, like I did with And Tango Makes Three.
My 2013 mini quilt
Or you can dig a little deeper and get even more creative with it by pulling from within the book. The first place would be to think of the message or moral of the story...otherwise known as the theme. So this week let's talk at choosing a theme from a frequently challenged book, then translating them into quilt art.
Let's look at some of the themes in Looking for Alaska by John Green. (spoiler alert! To discuss this in depth about a book I have to give away the overall plot line. If you haven't already but still plan to read this book, you may want to skip the info below)
- Death: The book uses death as a theme to show the readers that death is something inevitable but we can never become ready for it.
- Self discovery: The theme of self discovery is extremely present throughout the whole book. By the end of the book, almost every character has figured something out about themselves because of the experiences they have been through. Self discovery is much more present within Miles because he is the character that undergoes the most change throughout the entire book.
- Guilt: The theme of guilt is present throughout the whole book in very mysterious ways. It first starts off with Miles’ guilt of leaving his parents behind in Florida. He also feels a lot of guilt towards the fact that he stayed behind at Culver Creek during Thanksgiving, just to spend time alone with Alaska. The theme of guilt really sets in during the second part of the book, after Alaska’s death.
For self-discovery you could use the lake that the characters always go to as a symbol of independence, freedom, and where they do the most insightful thinking. Every time Takumi, Miles, Alaska and the Colonel need some time to figure something out or find a theory, they always end up going back to the lake.
Guilt plays a huge role in the book and is symbolized by white flowers, alcohol, and an unexpected kiss. Miles feels enormous guilt in not stopping Alaska from getting into the car when she was drunk, especially after she kissed him and made him the happiest guy alive. Alaska got into the car as a knee-jerk reaction to guilt over not leaving white flowers on her mother's grave, as was her habit. I put some key symbols to translate into the art in bold font.
So now that I've shown a more in depth look at theme and translation into art, let's do it a little faster:
Banned/Challenged Book: Harry Potter series
Themes: death, love, friendship, growing up, courage
Symbols/Quilt ideas: Harry's scar, snake, invisibility cloak (gift from his father/love), Harry's friends, Dumbledore, Harry's parents, quotes from the books
Banned/Challenged Book: The Catcher in the Rye
Themes: loneliness, alienation as a form of self-protection, growing up, "phoniness" of adult world
Symbols/Quilt ideas: red hunting hat, field of rye, Museum of Natural History, ducks
Banned/Challenged Book: The Great Gilly Hopkins
Themes: family as a cause of heartbreak, family as a cause of joy, mischief, intelligence, racism, love
Symbols/Quilt ideas: photograph of Courtney (Gilly's mother), JRR Tolkien books, letters, Mrs. Trotter, Gilly's grandmother, Gilly's 6th grade teacher
Hope that gives you some ideas as you get started on your mini quilt for the challenge. Have fun and be creative with it!