Peaceful Pieces: Poems and Quilts About Peace by Anna Grossnickle Hines.
Henry Holt and Company: NY, 2011.

On the initial reading, I was impressed by the poems more than the quilts. The cover quilt is beautiful and my favorite, a dove of peace formed with long strips. Some of the others are eye-catching or themed in a different way than usual. They are, for the most part, much simpler than the author's other quilted picture books. She's maybe less out to prove her technical skills and focused more on it looking like a picture book. I enjoyed the quilts, but the poems affected me more deeply this time.

Upon reading, I expected peaceful nature scenes and inspirational poetry. Anna Grossnickle Hines instead describes the theme in a more all-encompassing manner. She picks at the subject from different directions in order to discover paths towards peace. In the poem, Where I Live, Peace describes a home where it can be found. Likewise, there is a recipe poem. Also, an incident of childhood bickering, with a solution. Most of the poems deal with peace on a personal level, like with relationships and the party's willingness to forgive and keep an open mind and heart. These are things that require personal work on anyone's part to achieve, but definitely virtues worth developing and the younger the better.

I love the spread with the canoe and ripples, with an acrostic and a haiku and a nature exploration poem. Some of the poems are about trying to be at peace oneself, like the one about quieting the mind or the one likening angry, hurtful words to gunshots or the suggestion of counting to calm down before allowing yourself to react. A very simple quilt is the Dominoes spread - red, black and white fabrics fanned out (with the bargello technique), and a simple message of inter-connectivity. I like the dynamics of the No In-Between and Tough Act, with contrasting silhouettes and diamonds made of dramatic, thin triangular strips. When... and Truce are simple and thoughtful, with large landscape pieces and embroidery for shaping and emphasis. The quilt for What If? is circles and butterflies with interesting overlapped fabrics. Pass It On and How? also use wonderful fabric to liven the picture, and then waves of quilting for texture and the hands and globe motif to carry the image. The concepts are how we arrive at peace and spreading it around or helping it to grow.

The end of the book has bio blurbs about eight promoters of peaceful solutions and the author's discussion about quilting and her inspiration for the book. I particularly like her closing message:

Most of the time I spend writing or quilting, I am by myself. But I am not alone. My fellow writers and quilters are with me, all of those who will one day read my words and see my pictures are with me, and even those who won't are with me. All of us together in one world. The trick is to be mindful of that connection.

related-peace, poetry for children, quilts, relationships, inner growth, art
RL=2nd and up, some of the concepts are obviously geared more towards older elementary levels, but even toddlers can enjoy some of the book.

Reviews of Pieces and Winter Lights

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