Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts

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9780060008178: Winter Lights: A Season in Poems & Quilts

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.

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About 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."

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* Gr. 1-3. Winter is the time of lights, and Hines celebrates the season in thoughtful poems and pictures of gorgeous quilts full of bright, beautiful colors. Christmas is only one of the light-producing celebrations that Hines illuminates. The feast of Santa Lucia, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Chinese New Year are spectacularly introduced with short bursts of poetry and quilts that capture the spirit of the day--a Hanukkah menorah, for example, colored all blue and gold, is set against thin, blue stripes of different fabrics, giving depth and weight to the holiday feeling. Two of the most beautiful spreads are not about holidays at all. A black background with a burst of starlight marks the winter solstice, and amazing shifts of colors across two pages evoke the Aurora borealis ("A billowing curtain of swirling, swooping light"). Christmas is elaborated upon in several pieces, the most handsome highlighting farolitos, paper bag lanterns said to light Mary and Joseph's path. The back matter, of most interest to adults and young quilters, explains in words and photos how the quilts were made. A lovely follow-up to Hines' Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts (2001). Ilene Cooper
Copyright American Library Association. All rights reserved

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