New Gee's Bend Book For ChildrenWednesday, August 13, 2008
The author, Patricia C. McKissack, has written the Caldecott Honor Book Mirandy and Brother Wind and the Newbery Honor Book The Dark Thirty. In an interview on the Random House website, she says:
It is said the Impressionists artists gathered in Provence in southern France because of the vibrant colors. I can imagine that if the Impressionist had visited Gee’s Bend, they would have chosen it as an artist’s haven as well. The sky seems bluer, the foliage seems greener, the Alabama River seems muddier, the sun brighter . . . and the mosquitoes bite harder! It is just a place where everything is alive, including the people–they laugh like no other people, they throw back their heads and sing praise songs. Life has not always been kind to these women, but they are warm and friendly and inclusive.---
When I was in Gee’s Bend, I met so many people, and I knew it would be difficult to write a book that included all their stories. So, I decided to create a character that represented the reader, a young person, learning a craft and thus earning her place among the community of women. In this way, I could honor all the women, their genius and their craftsmanship. Each one of the vignettes is like a patch. Cozbi, the illustrator, visually put them together to form a quilt.
Random House describes the book this way:
Mother and daughter, grandmother and granddaughter, aunt and niece, friend and friend. For a hundred years, generations of women from Gee’s Bend have quilted together, sharing stories, trading recipes, singing hymns–all the while stitchin’ and pullin’ thread through cloth. Every day Baby Girl listens, watches, and waits, until she’s called to sit at the quilting frame. Piece by piece, she puzzles her quilt together–telling not just her story, but the story of her family, the story of Gee’s Bend, and the story of her ancestors’ struggle for freedom.---