All the Places to Love

All the Places to Love

4.6 6
by Patricia MacLachlan

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Within the sanctuary of a loving family, baby Eli is born and, as he grows, "learns to cherish the people and places around him, eventualy passing on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie: 'All the places to love are here . . . no matter where you may live.' This loving book will be something to treasure."'BL. "The quiet narrative is so…  See more details below


Within the sanctuary of a loving family, baby Eli is born and, as he grows, "learns to cherish the people and places around him, eventualy passing on what he has discovered to his new baby sister, Sylvie: 'All the places to love are here . . . no matter where you may live.' This loving book will be something to treasure."'BL. "The quiet narrative is so intensely felt it commands attention. . . . a lyrical celebration."'K.

1995 Teachers' Choices (IRA)
1995 Notable Trade Books in the Language Arts (NCTE)
Notable 1995 Children's Trade Books in Social Studies (NCSS/CBC)

Author Biography: Patricia MacLachlan was born on the prairie, and to this day carries a small bag of prairie dirt with her wherever she goes to remind her of what she knew first. She is the author of many well-loved novels and picture books, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal; it's sequel, Skylark; Three Names, illustrated by Alex Pertzoff; and All The Places To Love, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. She lives in western Massachusetts.

In Her Own Words...

"One thing I've learned with age and parenting is that life comes in circles. Recently, I was having a bad time writing. I felt disconnected. I had moved to a new home and didn't feel grounded. The house, the land was unfamiliar to me. There was no garden yet. Why had I sold my old comfortable 1793 home? The one with the snakes in the basement, mice everywhere, no closets. I would miss the cold winter air that came in through the electrical sockets.

"I had to go this day to talk to a fourth-grade class, and I banged around the house, complaining. Hard to believe, since I am so mild mannered andpleasant, isn't it? What did I have to say to them? I thought what I always think when I enter a room of children. What do I know?

"I plunged down the hillside and into town, where a group of fourth-grade children waited for me in the library, freshly scrubbed, expectant. Should I be surprised that what usually happens did so? We began to talk about place, our living landscapes. And I showed them my little bag of prairie dirt from where I was born. Quite simply, we never got off the subject of place. Should I have been so surprised that these young children were so concerned with place, or with the lack of it, their displacement? Five children were foster children, disconnected from their homes. One little boy's house had burned down, everything gone. "Photographs, too," he said sadly. Another told me that he was moving the next day to place he'd never been. I turned and saw the librarian, tears coming down her face.

"'You know,' I said. "Maybe I should take this bag of prairie dirt and toss it into my new yard. I'll never live on the prairie again. I live here now. The two places could mix together that way!" "No!" cried a boy from the back. "Maybe the prairie dirt will blow away!" And then a little girl raised her hand. "I think you should put that prairie dirt in a glass bowl in your window so that when you write you can see it all the time. So you can always see what you knew first."

"When I left the library, I went home to write. What You Know First owes much to the children of the Jackson Street School: the ones who love place and will never leave it, the ones who lost everything and have to begin again. I hope for them life comes in circles, too."

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
MacLachlan's characteristically resonant language and Wimmer's majestic paintings affectingly celebrate the natural world and the family. Told in the voice of a child who lives on a farm with his parents and grandparents, the author's poetic narrative opens on the day of the boy's birth, when his grandmother holds him up to the open window, ``So that what I heard first was the wind. / What I saw first were all the places to love: / The valley, / The river falling down over rocks, / The hilltop where the blueberries grew.'' The child introduces readers to the spots that each person in his family loves best: for his mother it is the hilltop where the sky is ``an arm's length away''; for his grandfather, the dark, cool barn (``Where else, he says, can the soft sound of cows chewing / Make all the difference in the world?''). Only after the birth of his sister does the boy reveal his favorite place of all: the marsh ``Where ducklings follow their mother / Like tiny tumbles of leaves.'' Whether focusing on a single, aging turtle or depicting a sweeping panorama, Wimmer's ( Train Song ; Flight ) paintings beautifully convey the splendor of nature, as well as the deep affection binding three generations. This inspired pairing of words and art is a timeless, uplifting portrait of rural family life. All ages. (May)
Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
MacLachlan's picture book presents a reassuring and poetic vision of the idyllic rural places that are important to a small boy because they have touched his life and comforted him. One of the most powerful scenes is the one where his grandfather carves the names of newly born in the barn rafters.
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3-``Where else can the soft sound of cows chewing make all the difference in the world?'' asks Eli's grandfather about the barn he loves. There are other places on the farm that each family member finds special: the valley, the meadows, the hilltop where the blueberries grow, and the river falling over rocks. As young Eli recounts them simply and warmly, these places become living keepsakes that form a homage to their way of life. The ties of family members to one another and of family to farm are captured in the sweet, pastoral illustrations realistically painted in Norman Rockwellian style. The language has MacLachlan's signature spareness filled with emotion and sensitivity. As in her Three Names (HarperCollins, 1991), the personal reflections are heartwarming and touching. While Eli waits in the barn with his grandfather, the arrival of a new baby reaffirms the continuity of generations as Sylvie's name is added to those carved on a barn rafter. The use of questions such as: ``Where else does an old turtle crossing the path make all the difference in the world?'' help make the story relevant for young readers. Who else but MacLachlan could carry this off so lovingly.-Julie Cummins, New York Public Library

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Product Details

HarperCollins Children's Books
Publication date:

Meet the Author

Patricia MacLachlan is the celebrated author of many timeless books for young readers, including Sarah, Plain and Tall, winner of the Newbery Medal. Her novels for young readers include Arthur, For the Very First Time; The Facts and Fictions of Minna Pratt; Skylark; Caleb’s Story; More Perfect than the Moon; Grandfather’s Dance; Word After Word After Word; Kindred Souls; and The Truth of Me; she is also the author of many beloved picture books, many of which she cowrote with her daughter, Emily. She lives with her husband and two border terriers in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Mike Wimmer is the illustrator of a number of highly acclaimed picture books, including All the Places to Love, written by Patricia MacLachlan, and Train Song, written by Diane Siebert. He lives in Norman, Oklahoma.

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