cover image Aneesa Lee and the Weaver's Gift

Aneesa Lee and the Weaver's Gift

Nikki Grimes. HarperCollins, $17.99 (32pp) ISBN 978-0-688-15997-9

In a series of thoughtful, interlocking poems, Grimes (Meet Danitra Brown) skillfully uses the metaphor of weaving to explore the world of a talented girl. The young weaver's strands of black, white and Japanese heritage have ""produced a pleasing,/ living, breathing tapestry/ christened Aneesa Lee."" The poet reveals Aneesa Lee's life and thoughts through the intricate patterns of her work (""a herringbone of sadness,/ threads of anger and gladness""; ""Her yarns express her deepest thoughts/ in variegated tints""). The themes of the book--family, community, artistic vision, dedication to craft and love--build to a resonant climax in the last poem where Grimes suggests that, ""From the age of bronze/ To the age of space,/ From Ankara to Zanzibar,/.../ The loom connects us all/ In a community/ Of cloth."" Bryan's (Beat the Story Drum, Pum-Pum) sweeping tempera and gouache illustrations include all the shades of yarn that Aneesa Lee enumerates, as well as a cast of many colors. His paintings reflect the many moods of the poems, each framed in a vibrant textile pattern. A list of terms integral to the craft will aid novices. For adult weavers, the book will be a treasure, and for children, it serves as a glimpse into the intricacies not only of weaving, but the patterns of daily life. Ages 7-up. (Oct.)