The Rag Coat

by Lauren A. Mills

Hardcover, 1991



Call number




Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (1991), Edition: 1st, 32 pages


Minna proudly wears her new coat made of clothing scraps to school, where the other children laugh at her until she tells them the stories behind the scraps.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
Minna is a child of poverty. Living in Appalachia, when her father dies as a result of working in the mines, life is even more difficult. Minna longs to attend school, but does not have a winter coat to protect her from the cold.

When her mother's friends from a quilting society, gather their unused
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scraps of material, a beautiful coat of many colors is sewn for Minna.

Happy to attend school, Minna discovers that her rag coat is an object for bullying. Trying to fit in, Minna turns the table and points to specific blocks of material which were sewn from her classmates objects.

This lovely illustrated book deals with difficult subjects of death, poverty and bullying.
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LibraryThing member lnaeole
I loved how the author used Minna to portray how young girls are taught to cook, clean, and most of all quiliting. Quilting showed minna how to create warmth and fun/friends.
LibraryThing member heidikneller
Historical fiction. Beautiful Story that slowly leads reader through the emotions of a child. She becomes a teacher to her classmates about the beauty of memories and shared experiences.
LibraryThing member AbigailAdams26
The daughter of an Appalachian coal miner, Minna had always wanted to go to school, but with her family too poor to afford a coat - they attended church wrapped up in burlap feed sacks and a quilt - and her mother needing her help at home, it seemed like that was a dream which could never come
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true. When her father can no longer work, because of "miner's cough," and eventually dies, the family is worse off than ever. But then one day, the women in her mother's quilting circle learn the reason that Minna does not attend school, and propose a solution: the creation of a most unusual coat, made with all their old scraps of material. Delighted, at first, with this "rag coat," Minna is subsequently dismayed at the ridicule from her classmates. Can she show them that her coat has significance, not just for her, but for all of them as well...?

Having greatly enjoyed Lauren Mills' Tatterhood and the Hobgoblins in the past, as well as the illustrations she did for Hans Christian Andersen's Thumbelina, I suspected I would enjoy this Appalachian tale as well, and I was not disappointed. Although the resolution of The Rag Coat might feel a little too easy, with all Minna's classmates realizing how wrong they were to tease her, I found the story very realistic in other respects, particularly as it concerns the father's illness and death. I was moved by Mills' tale, and think that children who have known what it is to do without, or to lose a parent, will find it a comforting reassurance that things will get better. The artwork, done in watercolor, is simply lovely, with a beautiful but muted palette, and an overall sensibility that felt very in keeping with the story! All in all, a delightful picture-book, one I would recommend to fans of this author/artist, to readers who appreciate tales set in Appalachia, and to children who have experienced want and loss.
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LibraryThing member dukefan86
This is a sweet story with charming pictures! I wish I had the patience and skill for quilt making, and I love storytelling, so this story was a hit with me. I also liked that Minna, at the end of the book, gains the courage to return to school after being hurt by the bullies. Sweet.
LibraryThing member KristinHopwood
This is about a young girl who needs a new winter coat so she can go to school, but her family cant afford one. Her father dies and her mom has to work as a knitter. Her knitter community decides that they will all combine their old rags to make a coat for this girl. The kids at school make fun of
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her, but when she points out that the coat is made from their old favorite rags they become interested and apologize. This teaches students to be kind and understanding. I would recommend this for second or third graders.
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LibraryThing member SimoneAlexis
A story about a young girl growing up in Appalachia, this is a very touching book. Minna wants to go to school, but she has to stay home to help her widowed Mama take care of her siblings and do chores around the house. Her father had always promised Minna that she would have a beautiful coat to
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wear to school, and with him gone now it is up to her to make one. I would recommend this book to students in 2nd- 4th grade.
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LibraryThing member adates12
The Rag Coat is a longer picture book that is easy to read. It handles tough topics such as family deaths. bullying, and apologizing. The main character shows that not everything is what it seems. The other students make fun of her coat, but apologize for their wrong doings when they find out how
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much meaning it has.
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LibraryThing member JaniceBrody
Minna is a young Appalachian girl that wants nothing more than to go to school but she doesn't have a coat. Her father recently died and her mother can't afford to buy her one. A group of mothers come together to make her one using pieces of left over fabric. She is thrilled but once she wears it
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to school the other kids make fun of her for wearing a coat of rags.
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Nebraska Golden Sower Award (Nominee — 1994)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Picture Book — 1994)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 1994)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades K-3 — 1993)




Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

10.38 inches


0316574074 / 9780316574075

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