A Friday Kick: Anna and Priscilla

h1 January 25th, 2008 by jules

As many of you know, when we gather on Sundays to list our 7 Kicks for the week, we feature an illustration (or two or three or four) from some of our favorite illustrators, whether they have a new book coming out or not. And I’m such a fan of good picture book illustration that it’s become my favorite feature of all here at 7-Imp (here’s a list of whom we’ve featured thus far).

Author/Illustrator Anna Alter was lined up to be featured this Sunday but later re-scheduled for another Sunday. And when that Sunday didn’t work out for her after all (but after I had already lined up another illustrator for this weekend), I told her that 7-Imp would gladly feature her any ‘ol day of the week. Her illustrations have a way of brightening our days. As a result, I asked my Poetry Friday entry for today to scoot on over — shoo, shoo and skedaddle, I told it, and it obliged me — so that we could feature some art work from Anna’s new illustrated title, Priscilla and the Hollyhocks written by Anne Broyles (but, hey, I snuck in some poetry yesterday anyway).

Back in April of last year, Anna graced our site with an interview. In that Q & A, she shared with us two illustrations from this title, to be published in February by Charlesbridge, and also shared her thoughts on illustrating this poignant tale, based on a true story, about a young African American girl who is sold away from her mother as a slave. Later, she is sold to a Cherokee Indian and forced to join them on their journey down the Trail of Tears. Eventually purchased by a white man, Illinois innkeeper Basil Silkwood, she is set free — and adopted into his family of fifteen children. All throughout her experiences, Priscilla carries the seeds of her mother’s favorite flower, the hollyhock.

Apparently, Broyles discovered the story of Priscilla while doing some research about the Cherokee Trail of Tears for a young adult novel. I’ve already read a copy of Priscilla, which opens: “When I was young and still wore slavery’s yoke, I was saved by hollyhocks, and a white man’s kindness.” It’s a powerful story of courage and the very meaning of “home,” as Priscilla plants her hollyhock seeds along her journey to bring a sense of comfort while being passed around from family to family as nothing more than a piece of property: “Wasn’t much I wanted to ‘member from my first home but Ma. Pink hollyhocks kept her livin’. Surely if I thought on her, she might think on me, too, where’er she was.”

To boot, the book includes instructions for making a hollyhock doll.

Here’s an illustration from the book, depicting the Cherokees’ journey along the Trail of Tears. More illustrations from the book can be found here at Anna’s site. Anna also blogged about the process of illustrating the book here and here. And, to celebrate the book’s release, there will be some partying going on for those of you in the Boston area. Here’s the info, straight from Anna:

Charlesbridge and two great local bookstores are throwing us two fun-filled launch parties, one in Jamaica Plain and one in Wellesley. Both events will feature:

* An art activity for kids (make your own hollyhock doll);

* Curriculum guides for teachers who wish to use the book in their classroom;

* A short presentation by both the author and myself about how we made this book;

* Original artwork and sketches/process work on display.

Plus snacks and good cheer for all of course!

Here are the details:

February 9th at 1:00 pm
The Wellesley Booksmith
82 Central St
Wellesley, MA 02482
(781) 431-1160

February 16th at 3:00 pm
Jamaicaway Books & Gifts
676 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
(617) 983-3204″

Thanks to Anna for stopping by. Thus ends our Sunday-feature-on-a-Friday. But wait! Anna sent another illustration from the book, and it just so happens to be my favorite one from it, so I’m going to close with a very big version of it so that your eyes can soak it all in. Enjoy!

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16 comments to “A Friday Kick: Anna and Priscilla”

  1. Thanks so much to both of you for the gorgeous pictures! The book looks like a real treasure.


  2. Visual poetry…I love it.


  3. Jules,

    Thanks for highlighting the art in Anna’s new book. The illustrations you’ve posted are wonderful! Anna showed me a copy of PRISCILLA AND THE HOLLYHOCKS some time ago–but I haven’t had an opportunity to read it yet.


  4. Eisha and I are particularly in love with that last illustration here. Whoa.


  5. Wow, that is some story about the girl sold away from her mother. Heartbreaking. It must be very hard emotionally for writers and artists working on projects like these that deal with slavery and the Trail of Tears. I can’t imagine. Two of the South’s many sad legacies…

    Lovely pictures here.


  6. Whoa. Gorgeous and heartbreaking. The illustrations are JUST so clear.


  7. I agree, her illustrations are beautiful.


  8. Thanks everyone! I am a big fan of this blog, it is always fun to be featured!


  9. Simply beautiful and pure!


  10. I have known Author Anne Broyles for almost 30 years. She is a meticulous researcher and a person who is devoted to writing stories that speak of truth, courage and kindness. I am buying a copy of her book for the childen of the church I attend and copies for my own grand daughters. Congratulations, Anne, on this inspiring book.


  11. The last image is my favorite from this batch as well. Thanks for sharing!


  12. I publish a ‘zine for girls and wish they could all meet Priscilla by way of Broyles’ exquisite rendering.


  13. ahhhhh—what lovely artwork.

    my 7 kicks for the week:
    1-this week i read Rick Riordan’s fantastic blog entry about his “overnight success” and i almost teared up, remembering back when i was part of the word-of-mouth miracle. and i emailed he back then and he REPLIED! it’s so satisfying to see his success.
    2-the picture poetry book by Joyce Sidman, called This Is Just to Say: Poems of Apology and Forgiveness. These kid poet characters could certainly be my real life student poets.
    3-strong coffee
    4-successful parent/teacher/student conferences
    5-Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You–a great YA, two evenings of savory reading read.
    6-my “Vocabulary Vulcans” group of high English Language learners is going well. 15 minutes a day of intense, highly structured vocabulary work, and close monitoring of choice reading–at least we seem to be off to a good start
    7-goodreads—i’m pretty certain i spend more time reading and writing about books that i spend actually reading ‘em. but it’s such good fun.


  14. Hi, Amy. I copied (and responded to) your kicks over at the kicks post. Hope that’s okay. Thanks for visiting.


  15. [...] A Friday Kick: Anna and Priscilla January 25th, 2008 &nbsp&nbsp by jules [...]


  16. [...] there’s also this January ‘08 7-Imp post if you want more Anna [...]


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