Reviews for Peaceful Pieces : Poems and Quilts About Peace

Booklist Reviews 2011 January #1
*Starred Review* In Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts (2001), Hines took her books in a new direction, creating quilts to illustrate poems written around a central theme. Her newest jewel-bright offering showcases 28 short poems about peace, a broad concept interpreted here in varied ways. The narrative poems wind their way to the central point, while the haiku and acrostics are brief and pithy. The most effective pieces are the most specific and personal, even when their connection to peace seems, at first, oblique. Several poems interpret the theme in ways that speak directly to a child's experience, while others reflect a broader view. The most striking aspect of the book is its quilted, pieced-cloth artwork, and the borderless pages allow maximum impact for Hines' bold, expressive visual statements. Two of the spreads are composed mainly in black and white, while, in others, colors, patterns, and stitched lines create a rich variety of effects, from scenes evoking a surprising illusion of depth to bold images that seem to rise from their backgrounds. In the closing pages, Hines comments on the process of quilting and identifies the eight peacemakers photographically represented in one of the illustrations. A beautiful poetry book on an ever-relevant theme. Copyright 2011 Booklist Reviews.

BookPage Reviews 2011 April
Sweet words for little readers

Here are some of our favorite new poetry books for children, selections that are bound to unleash the inner poet in even the youngest writers.

Readers of all ages will get a kick out of Bob Raczka’s clever Lemonade: And Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word. The premise of these short, fun verses is to take a single word (such as lemonade, pepperoni or playground), and make a short poem using only the letters in that word. So, for example, a poem called “Television” consists of the lines: “set is on / i sit.”

This book will appeal to both poetry and puzzle lovers, no doubt motivating them to choose their own words and write some poems.


Over the last few years I have particularly liked books that combine poetry with nonfiction, such as Tracie Vaughn Zimmer’s Cousins of Clouds: Elephant Poems. This book is a visual and literary feast, with eye-catching mixed-media illustrations by Megan Halsey and Sean Addy.

Each page contains this duo’s illustrations, along with one of Zimmer’s imaginative poems and a short sidebar filled with interesting elephant facts, such as the recent discovery that elephants can communicate over extremely long distances with low tones that people can’t hear, and that they can feel these tones through their feet.

Many interesting topics are addressed, including elephants’ ivory tusks, their excellent memory and the term “white elephant.” The book’s title comes from the first page, in which we learn that some cultures once believed that elephants could control the weather. This blend of poetry, nonfiction and art is literature and learning at its best.

Similarly, Amy Gibson’s Around the World on Eighty Legs contains a menagerie of animal poems, organized by continent. The book begins with a world map showing how the poems and animals are grouped, and ends with an alphabetical glossary that sums up each animal with a few defining features. Daniel Salmieri’s watercolor, gouache and colored-pencil illustrations are lighthearted and fun, filled with animals that bear many amusing facial expressions.

There’s a nice blend of familiar and exotic animals, too, from the kangaroo to the cassowary, covered nicely with Gibson’s fun, never-pedantic poems. Here, for example, are a few lines about yaks:

The yakkity yakkity yak—
Why is it the yak never answers you back?
To a yak, nothing’s worse
than to have to converse—
The yakkity yakkity yak.

Animal lovers will also enjoy Lee Wardlaw’s Won Ton: A Cat Tale Told in Haiku. The book opens with a short note explaining that these verses are a form of Japanese poetry called senryu, very similar to haiku.

Wardlaw’s book is wonderfully innovative, telling a story through a series of senryu that are compelling yet quite accessible to young readers. The tale is told from the cat’s point of view, who starts out in a shelter and gets picked to go home with a family in a poem called “The Choosing.” Next, in “The Naming,” the cat hears his new moniker and proclaims:

Won Ton? How can I
be soup? Some day, I’ll tell you
my real name. Maybe.

This is a touching tale, made even more dramatic by Eugene Yelchin’s sublime illustrations, which vary on every page, adding drama, emotion, fun and beauty.

I have long been a fan of Kristine O’Connell George’s poetry collections, and her latest, Emma Dilemma: Big Sister Poems, is a real winner. Fourth-grader Jessica both loves and loathes her little sister Emma, and this is the essence of her “Emma Dilemma.”

Jessica voices her wide-ranging emotions through a series of poems that are spot-on for real situations and feelings, getting right at the heart of what it means to be a sister, chronicling both its delights and demons. Nancy Carpenter’s lively illustrations manage to capture every bit of the fun and fury.

There is drama here, too, when Emma tries to join Jessica and her friend in their treehouse and falls, breaking her arm, prompting guilt in Jessica that she should have been closer paying attention to Emma. Kids of all ages will be both moved and entertained by this engaging poem-story.

Lee Bennett Hopkins is another kingpin of children’s poetry, having assembled many wonderful collections over the years. His latest, I Am the Book, is a collection of poems—including one of his own—all about books and the pleasures of reading. These are fun, animated poems, such as this verse from Beverly McLoughland’s “When I Read”:

When I read, I like to dive
In the sea of words and swim
Feet kicking fast across the page
Splashing words against my skin.
The energy is enhanced with acrylics by an illustrator named Yayo, whose vibrant colors enliven every page. In the illustration for this poem, for instance, a streamlined diver plunges into a bright blue sea, which rests on top of a gigantic book, all atop a sandy yellow background.

More creative illustrations are waiting in Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts about Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines, a follow-up to her lovely A Year in Poems and Quilts. Hines’ illustrations are photographs of her own amazing, handmade quilts. And phenomenal they are, with wonderful backgrounds and vibrant colors, patterns and textures, and people, too, such as a boy in a kayak or a curly-haired girl holding a butterfly.

Hines’ poems are just as[Tue Sep 2 08:02:41 2014] Wide character in print at E:\websites\aquabrowser\IMCPL\app\site\ line 249. wonderful and varied as her quilts, discussing peace in its many forms, whether between a hamster and a snake, siblings, schoolmates, armies or countries. There’s plenty of food for thought here, including a spread dedicated to eight peacemakers, ranging from Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. to child peacemakers Samantha Smith and Mattie Stepanek.

Hines ends her book with a few pages explaining who these peacemakers are, and also discusses how she created her quilts. She relates the long history of quilt-making, storytelling and artistic and community collaboration. This is indeed a treasure trove of beauty and inspiration.


Copyright 2011 BookPage Reviews.

Horn Book Guide Reviews 2011 Fall
In twenty-eight poems of various formats, Hines looks at peace from many angles. Her imagery is inventive--"Season with forgiveness. / Simmer in a sauce of respect"--and she uses words sparingly: the poem "Peace Is" simply states, "when all / of them / are us." Intricate quilts illustrating the verses are, in equal measure, soothing and elegant. Brief bios of famous "peacemakers" are appended. Copyright 2011 Horn Book Guide Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews 2011 February #2
Hines' art is always beautiful; she illustrates her work with astonishing quilts, reproduced full-size, in a variety of designs: In this work she uses black-and-white reverse patterns, mosaic-type images, photographs made into quilt patterns and lots and lots of gorgeous color. She uses this abundance of styles in her poems, too, offering acrostic, haiku, rhymed and free verse as well as concrete poetry ("Peace. Pass it on," repeats over and over around a quilted globe, held by quilted hands of many colors, including orange and purple). In "What If?" she muses, "What if guns / fired marshmallow bullets, / and bombs burst / into feather clouds / sending us into fits / of giggles? What if / we all died / laughing?" It is very difficult to write about peace for children—or anyone else—without sinking into bathos or pure sappiness, and this collection doesn't always rise above, but these missteps are small. Brief paragraphs about various peacemakers at the back, including two children (Samantha Smith, 1972–1985, and Mattie Stepanek, 1990–2004), tether the poems to reality; her description of making the quilts and the support of her quilters' group is wonderful in and by itself for both children and adults to read. A poem about two sisters made to stand nose-to-nose until they stop fighting and dissolve into giggles is a truly fine idea—wonder if it would work with world leaders? (Picture book/poetry. 5-10) 
Copyright Kirkus 2011 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.

Library Media Connection Reviews 2011 May/June
Hines continues to expand her combination of art quilts and words, this time featuring poems that speak to concepts, people, and ideas that resonate peace. This is a more serious book than her earlier Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts (Greenwillow Books, 2001) or Winter Lights: A Season in Poems and Quilts (Greenwillow Books, 2005). Twenty-seven poems are presented, including acrostic, a recipe poem, haiku, a concrete poem, poems that require particular placement on the page, poems in which the font size changes, and free-verse poems. The concept of peace is presented from various perspectives: the interconnectedness of humankind, a young boy whose father is not the same person after he comes back from war, children on the playground, and the peacefulness of nature. Two poems, "Big Shoes" and "Water and Stone," are illustrated with portraits. "Peacemakers," including Gandhi, Samantha Smith, Jimmy Carter, and five others, are identified with brief biographical information. Hines uses printed and plain fabrics, such as batik, and a variety of techniques, including kaleidoscope, thread painting, and appliqu. She appends brief information about her word-and-fabric art. Recommended. Brenda Dales, Department of Teacher Education, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio ¬ 2011 Linworth Publishing, Inc.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2010 November #5

Hines pairs poems with images of her handmade quilts to reflect on the theme of peace. Several works focus on individual relationships: when two sisters fight, their mother makes them face each other at close range, which diffuses their anger into laughter ("It's hard to keep on fighting/ when you're touching nose to nose"). Poems like "Soldier Daddy" are socially resonant: "Daddy?/ Are you not listening again?/ Are you still sad from the war?" Often Hines needs just a few words to convey oceans of meaning: "Peace Is/ when all/ of them/ are us." The beauty and painstaking detail evident in each quilt brings the book's vision a stitch closer. Ages 4-8. (Mar.)

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School Library Journal Reviews 2011 February

Gr 1-5--Using exquisitely detailed handmade quilts as a backdrop, Hines's poems explore the overarching themes of peace, understanding, tolerance, and friendship. The diverse selections illustrate the ways in which peace relates to everyday life and are presented in a variety of formats and contexts. For example, one poem is told from the perspective of a child whose father came back from war a changed man. Another uses the game of dominoes as a metaphor for the idea that human beings influence one another in far-reaching ways. The quilts that accompany the selections serve to expand upon their themes and create an interesting contrast to the text. Children will be fascinated by the painstakingly intricate stitching, bold colors, and poignant imagery. In an author's note, Hines describes her writing and quilt-making processes. Mini-biographies of eight influential peacemakers, including Mother Teresa and Gandhi, are included. This book would be perfect for reading aloud and also appropriate for independent reading by poetry-loving children. Because of its unique presentation and breadth of subjects, Peaceful Pieces would be a good companion to Vladimir Radunsky's What Does Peace Feel Like? (S & S, 2004). While some of the poems are more moving than others, the collection as a whole underscores the importance of people finding common ground despite their differences.--Rita Meade, Brooklyn Public Library, NY

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