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
February 16th at 3:00 pm
Jamaicaway Books & Gifts
676 Centre Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130
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!