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Aneesa Lee and the Weaver's Gift

Aneesa Lee and the Weaver's Gift

by Nikki Grimes, Ashley Bryan (Illustrator)

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Thirteen interrelated poems and as many radiant illustrations create not only a celebration of the ancient art of weaving but a joyful exploration of how love and hard work can mesh separate threads—or separate people—into a harmonious whole.


Thirteen interrelated poems and as many radiant illustrations create not only a celebration of the ancient art of weaving but a joyful exploration of how love and hard work can mesh separate threads—or separate people—into a harmonious whole.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In a series of thoughtful, interlocking poems, Grimes (Meet Danitra Brown) skillfully uses the metaphor of weaving to explore the world of a talented girl. The young weaver's strands of black, white and Japanese heritage have "produced a pleasing,/ living, breathing tapestry/ christened Aneesa Lee." The poet reveals Aneesa Lee's life and thoughts through the intricate patterns of her work ("a herringbone of sadness,/ threads of anger and gladness"; "Her yarns express her deepest thoughts/ in variegated tints"). The themes of the book--family, community, artistic vision, dedication to craft and love--build to a resonant climax in the last poem where Grimes suggests that, "From the age of bronze/ To the age of space,/ From Ankara to Zanzibar,/.../ The loom connects us all/ In a community/ Of cloth." Bryan's (Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum) sweeping tempera and gouache illustrations include all the shades of yarn that Aneesa Lee enumerates, as well as a cast of many colors. His paintings reflect the many moods of the poems, each framed in a vibrant textile pattern. A list of terms integral to the craft will aid novices. For adult weavers, the book will be a treasure, and for children, it serves as a glimpse into the intricacies not only of weaving, but the patterns of daily life. Ages 7-up. (Oct.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Gr 3-6-Thirteen interrelated poems celebrate a girl's love of weaving. Aneesa Lee, herself a tapestry of black, white, and Japanese heritage, pursues the art with an all-consuming passion. The variegated colors of the yarn and the various textures of the woven tapestries express her shifting emotions of sadness, hurt, anger, worry, joy, and love. Each spread features a poem on the left facing a full page of art. Bright, folk-style illustrations in tempera and gouache explode with color. Decorative borders reflect the artistic unity of words and illustrations. A glossary of "Weaving Words" and a picture of a fully labeled loom precede the poems. This sensitive tribute to an ancient art may best be appreciated by those who pursue the craft themselves.-Sally R. Dow, Ossining Public Library, NY Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
From Grimes (My Man Blue, p. 721, etc.), 13 brief poems about the art of weaving, literally and figuratively. The poems describe the art and craft of weaving including gathering natural materials for making dyes, spinning yarn, warping the board, dressing the loom, and completing the tapestry. Then there is Aneesa Lee, "a weave/of black/and white/and Japanese/a blend that sometimes/led to teasing," in a poem that exhibits the poet's larger theme, of how love weaves families together and how the craft of weaving links the past and present, connecting people in "a community of cloth." Some of the poems sing; others are awkward and trip on the tongue. Bryan's illustrations smooth out the difficulties, for each poem and drawing is bordered in a narrow band of brightly colored weaving that unifies the book. The illustrations of Aneesa, her family, and the weaving process contain bright threads of unexpected color, creating another kind of tapestry. Some pictures achieve a shimmering intensity: those created for "Sunset" and "Once" are so full of motion, they hardly lie still on the page. (glossary) (Picture book/poetry. 4-8)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
8.00(w) x 10.00(h) x 0.32(d)
Age Range:
4 - 8 Years

Meet the Author

Nikki Grimes began penning poetry at the age of six. Her many award-winning titles include the picture books Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, which won the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award and a Coretta Scott King Author Honor, and Meet Danitra Brown, which won a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor. Coretta Scott King Author Honors went to her novels The Road to Paris, Jazmin's Notebook, and Dark Sons, and her novel Bronx Masquerade won the Coretta Scott King Author Award. She lives in Corona, California.

Ashley Bryan's numerous awards and honors include the Coretta Scott King Award for illustration, six Coretta Scott King Honors, the Arbuthnot Prize, and a Fulbright Scholarship. He illustrated The Story of the Three Kingdoms by Walter Dean Myers, A Nest Full of Stars by James Berry, and How God Fix Jonah by Lorenz Graham. He also wrote and illustrated Beautiful Blackbird and All Night, All Day: A Child's First Book of African-American Spirituals. Mr. Bryan studied at Cooper Union in New York City and earned a degree in philosophy at Columbia University. He lives in Isleford, Maine.

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