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Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts

Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts

by Anna Grossnickle Hines

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Rich, luminous fabrics.

Eleven miles of thread.

An uncountable number of stitches.

Clear, sparkling words.

With these ingredients Anna Grossnickle Hines celebrates the lights that brighten the darkest season of our year. In poems and quilts she captures each heartening glow and flicker, from the moon and aurora borealis to the holiday lights of Santa Lucia,


Rich, luminous fabrics.

Eleven miles of thread.

An uncountable number of stitches.

Clear, sparkling words.

With these ingredients Anna Grossnickle Hines celebrates the lights that brighten the darkest season of our year. In poems and quilts she captures each heartening glow and flicker, from the moon and aurora borealis to the holiday lights of Santa Lucia, Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year to one lone candle and a hidden flashlight in the deep, dark night.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publishers Weekly
If ever there were a perfect book to curl up with on a cold night, this is it. With both humor and poignancy, Hines (Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts) again puts on display an astounding amount of effort and craftsmanship in a collection of child-friendly poems and custom-made quilts that feature striking images of winter light as it's experienced around the world. From Christmas trees and decorative farolitos to a Hanukkah menorah, from a bold full moon to the aurora borealis, her artistic interpretations of light emerging from winter darkness sparkle, and will likely dazzle readers. An end section about quilt-making (and the lore of light) should also fascinate fans. Ages 5-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
The natural world and the seasonal holidays are the subjects of these poems and quilts. There are poems for Christmas, St. Lucia Day, the winter solstice, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Chinese New Year. Hines's quilts include many symbols of the holidays. "Small Miracles" has a Menorah and a Star of David. "Kwanzaa" depicts a family celebrating near the candles, and a patchwork of Kente cloth is used in the background. An intriguing Christmas tree quilt has two poems, one of which is a poem in the shape of a fir tree. The text for each poem is placed directly on the quilt. Keeping in mind the seasonal "contrast of dark and light, warm and cold," Hines created many of the quilts with a dark background: the text on these pages is white. The poems and quilts created about the natural world capture a child's perspective on the luminous winter sunsets, full moon's light on the snow ("the moon paints pictures/on the blue-white snow"), and the Aurora Borealis. Since poems should be read aloud, this is a book to share. Young children will enjoy the language of the poems as they peruse the illustrations. Older readers and adults with an interest in quilts and quilting will find a good deal of information about the creation of the quilts in the back matter. 2005, Greenwillow Books, Ages 5 up.
—Sharon Salluzzo
Kirkus Reviews
Hines's art is quilted; here she makes astonishingly beautiful images in her quilts and uses them as illustrations for a wreath of poems about winter celebrations, light and dark, in the Northern hemisphere. Amazingly, she can create the sense of glitter, flash and flame in pieces of cloth. She honors St. Lucia, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Solstice and many other images of the season: the aurora borealis, farolitos, Christmas tree and house lights. A poem about icicles-"Overnight / an icicle grew, / catching the stars / above my window. / Now / in the sunlight / it / sets/ them / free"-is set over a mass of quilted stars made of more than 8,000 tiny triangles of vibrant color. A three-line poem called "Fireplace" shows quilted flames dancing like tiny elves. A small child protests the sun's going down so early in a snow-covered landscape of quilted pattern and opalescent glow. A sparkling read-aloud choice for the holiday time of year. (author's note) (Picture book. 5-9)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x 11.00(h) x 0.25(d)
Age Range:
5 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Anna Grossnickle Hines is the popular creator of numerous books for children. Though she has sewn "enough dolls and stuffed animals to fill a well-stocked toy store," and made a few simple quilts for her three daughters, Anna did not do any serious quilting until she decided to use quilts to illustrate the poems in this book. Inspired by her mother, who has been making prizewinning quilts since her retirement, Anna made her first quilt for the book in 1996. Working between other projects, she pieced four more over the next two years, and from April through November 1999 made the fourteen remaining quilts.

Anna Grossnickle Hines lives with her family in Gualala, California.

In Her Own Words...

"As a child I was very shy, but I enjoyed the attention I got from having my first-grade teacher put my drawings up on the wall. I remember sitting in my father's chair at the age of seven, looking at a Little Golden Book version of Heidi and telling my mother, "When I grow up, I want to make books for boys and girls." She said simply, "If that's what you want to do, that's what you should do."

"All the time I was growing up, first in rural Ohio, then, after my eleventh birthday, in Los Angeles, California, I read and drew. Sometimes I wrote, but I was shyer about that and usually tore it up. My parents and teachers encouraged me, but none of them could tell me much about how to go about "making books."

"In college my teachers told me that I had too much talent to waste on children's books, that "only Picasso gets away with drawing children," that I should "go have a baby and get it out of [my] system" and come back when I was ready to do " real art. " So at the end of my third year, having taken all the basic art courses, a class in children's literature, and another in child care and management, I left school to study on my own.

"I checked out stacks of books from the library and read them to the preschoolers in the daycare center where I worked. I read books about writing and illustrating books for children, and experimented with printing techniques. I also started writing: poetry at first, then a few picturebook stories, timidly sharing them with friends. Although they encouraged me, I still didn't know how to go about submitting my work to a publishing company.

"I was twenty-eight years old before I got that information from a Society of Children's Book Writers' conference. By that time, having been married and divorced, I had two young daughters to support, and had earned my degree and teaching credentials from Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, California.

"During the next eight years I taught third grade, married a songwriting forest ranger named Gary Hines, had a third daughter, continued my writing and drawing, and collected over one hundred encouraging rejection letters from various publishing companies, eighteen of them from Susan Hirschman at Greenwillow Books.

"Then on Friday, November 13th, 1981, instead of sending me a nice rejection letter, Susan called to say, "We'd like to publish Taste the Raindrops." Since then my life has been full indeed, with a wonderful family and work I love.

"I am fascinated by children, by how they think, what they do each day, how they learn about the world around them, their relationships with others. I enjoy sorting it all out and making sense of it, especially as what is commonplace to us is new and engaging to them.

"Every once in a while I have the additional reward of hearing from a child, or parent of a child, for whom one of my books has meant something special. Then I'm really glad I didn't listen to my college teachers."

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