I was truly moved by Alan Rickman’s letter of farewell to JK Rowling. For me, the lifetime passing in minutes is so true as my youngest son turns 10 this week.
"I have just returned from the dubbing studio where I spoke into a microphone as Severus Snape for absolutely the last time. On the screen were some flashback shots of Daniel, Emma, and Rupert from ten years ago. They were 12. I have also recently returned from New York, and while I was there, I saw Daniel singing and dancing (brilliantly) on Broadway. A lifetime seems to have passed in minutes.
Three children have become adults since a phone call with Jo Rowling, containing one small clue, persuaded me that there was more to Snape than an unchanging costume, and that even though only three of the books were out at that time, she held the entire massive but delicate narrative in the surest of hands.
It is an ancient need to be told in stories. But the story needs a great storyteller. Thanks for all of it, Jo.
Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Celebrate peace with this book pairing beautiful quilts with poems. Short poems explore the nature of peace and the myriad of forms it takes. There is the peace of quiet, of home, of nature. Then there is the peace that is the opposite of weapons, anger and war. There is the peace of acceptance, of moments, of prayer. Then for readers, there is the peace of reading this book.
Each poem itself is a moment of peace, inviting the reader to linger, consider. The author has created distinct poems that work both as individual poems and as a whole work together. The flow from poem to poem is very successful, making it difficult to read just one or two poems from this book.
The quilts themselves are done in jewel tones. They range from strong-lined images filled with words to natural scenes of quiet grace. Turning the page from one to the next is a journey of color, expression and beauty.
Highly recommended, this book beautifully marries poetry and quilting, resulting in a book that is warm, cozy and lovely. Appropriate for ages 7-10.
Reviewed from copy received from Henry Holt & Co.
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Check out the book trailer to see some of the quilts and hear some of the poetry:
Meadowlands by Thomas F. Yezerski
This nonfiction picture book tells the story of the history of the wetlands that are now known as the Meadowlands in New Jersey. From hundreds of years ago, when the wetlands had 20,000 acres of marshes through to the 1800s when the land was drained and filled in with dirt to the 20th century when the industries came to surround the Meadowlands with their factories. The wetlands were used as a garbage dump, filled with waste and filth. It became a problem area in New Jersey until the state decided that it needed to be cleaned up. By 1985 with the clean up and then the developers, there was less than 7000 acres of wetlands left. But the wetlands began to recover, with time the lack of pollution and the rivers and tides cleaned the water and allowed plants, birds, fish and animals to return. This is a celebration of wetland recovery and the strength of the ecosystem as well as a stirring call to action.
Yezerski offers just the right amount of information here for an elementary-aged audience. From the brief history of when the wetlands were unchanged, readers see how steadily the impact of humans deteriorated the size and quality of them. The garbage portion of the story is startling, stark and brief, indicating the small amount of time it took to do such extensive damage. When the book turns to the recovery of the Meadowlands, the tone lifts and the text turns to celebrating the nature returning to the area.
The pages of the book are bordered with objects pulled from that illustration. So the two-page spread of the 1800s is bordered with a knife, musket, scythe, trap, kettle, muskrat and more. This adds to the feeling of time changing and the area changing along with it. The watercolor illustrations are often looking at the wetlands from above, showing the devastation and changes. Beautifully, as the wetlands recover, the illustrations become more close and intimate with the wetlands and the animals.
Get this one on your elementary nature and ecology shelves. It is a readable and very successful look at wetland renewal for children. Appropriate for ages 7-10.
Reviewed from copy received from Farrar, Straus & Giroux.