Hines, Anna Grossnickle. 2001. Pieces: A Year in Poems and Quilts. New York: Greenwillow.
Here is a Digital Trailer for PIECES created by graduate student Jennifer Shaw.
There are TWO Readers' Guides for this book available below.
Here is a Readers' Guide for PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS AND QUILTS created by graduate student Cynthia Molinar.
Pictures of actual handmade quilts by the author are used to illustrate a collection of sweet lyrical poems about nature during each season of the year. The poems were written before the quilts were made. The author was inspired to create quilts to illustrate her poems by her mother who was making her own quilts. Twenty quilts were made to illustrate this book.
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books v. 54 no. 6 (February 2001) p. 223-4
"Despite some unevenness in the poetry, the visual appeal and detail of the quilt work will engage young viewers. Notes about the quilt-making process are presented at the end of the book."
School Library Journal v. 47 no. 3 (March 2001) p. 236
Gr 1-4-Hines has illustrated her mostly free-verse poems about the seasons with quilts. The selections, which describe weather, gardens, and animals, are set against her patchwork designs. The fabric art, done in a broad range of colors, are mostly representational, picturing animals and landscapes. While a few are striking, those that depend on a fabric's print or the quilting pattern come across flatly in reproduction. The poems are nicely descriptive, but not distinguished. The most interesting part for readers may be the two pages at the end that describe the quilting process, with a short bibliography. The quilts in the book are Hines's first, and took her several years to complete. They will certainly inspire young quilters or artists to try something similar, but as a collection of illustrated poems, Pieces fails to stand out.-Nina Lindsay, Oakland Public Library, CA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children's Poetry 2002
National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Medal for poetry and folklore, 2001
NCTE Notable Children's Books 2002
Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee for 2002-2003
Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist for 2002-2003
Oregon's Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award Nominee for 2004
Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, 2001
Junior Library Guild Selection
Allentown Art Museum Exhibit, 2001
American Textile History Museum Exhibit, 2002
Miniature Quilts, pattern for "To Each His Own", Issue 52, 2001
American Quilter, "Quilts in a Children's Book, The Making of PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS AND QUILTS" Winter 2002
Before reading book
Obtain a handmade quilt to show students and let students examine it and touch it.
Questions to ask
What is this?
Does anyone have something like this at home?
Do you know another name for this type of blanket?
What is a quilt?
Do you know anyone who has made a quilt?
Are quilts always used as blankets or can it be used as art?
Can a quilt tell a story?
Explain to students what a quilt is and how it is made.
“A quilt is two layers of cloth filled with padding and held together with stitch designs. The top layer is usually made from a number of fabics sewn together in a colorful pattern.”
The Story Behind the Quilts from Pieces: A Year in Poems & Quilts by Anna Grossnickle Hines.
Ask students to list the four seasons of the year.
Ask students to describe what each season looks like and feels like.
Tell students they will now listen/read poems about seasons that use quilts to describe what each season it like.
Suggestions for reading poems aloud
“Pieces” –Choral Reading, children can read the poem aloud all together.
“Do You Know Green?”-- one person can read the poem and another person can read the onomatopoeia words Psst! (emphasize the s sound)
Ping! (say the word in a very high pitch and fast)
Pop! (make a popping sound)
Pow! (say the word very loud)
“To Each His Own” Students can pretend they are leaves and act out the motions as described in the poem while the poem is being read aloud.
Motions students can act out:
“float lazily wavily” students can move slowly around
“swirling and whirling twisting and twirling” student can twirl around at a faster pace
“skip-a-dip, bippity floppity flippity…” students can slip and slop around
“and some just drop flop” students can drop to the ground
Follow up activities
Read the poem “Pieces.” Give each student a 3x5 index card. Ask students to illustrate their favorite season. Glue each index card onto a poster board in rows and columns to simulate a block quilt. The center index card can have the poem handwritten or typed on it.
Give each student a square piece of white fabric and fabric markers. Divide the class into four groups. Each group will be assigned a season. Students can illustrate the fabric using scenes from nature during the assigned season. An adult can sew the pieces together to create a real quilt.
Give students pieces of different colored fabric. Allow students to cut pieces into different shapes. Use the pieces to create a scene from nature on a square piece of white fabric about the size of a sheet of paper. Fuse appliqué the pieces using double sided iron on tape.
Students can write a free verse poem about their favorite season of the year.
Some quilts contain tessellations. Show students an actual quilt (or pictures if one cannot be found) that has tessellations. Students can use pattern blocks manipulatives to create tessellations within a square block.
Primary grades students can look at quilts and identify shapes that are used a pieces sewn together to create a quilt.
Make a design or pattern using different shapes and various angles on paper to use as a template. Students can measure and cut piece of fabric to be used to create a block or pattern for a quilt.
Related web sites/blogs
From The Heart blog by Anna Grossnickle Hines
A Quilter’s Coloring Book
A website about a teacher who created quilts with children
Other books by Anna Grossnickle Hines using quilts as illustrations
Hines, Anna Grossnickle. 2011. Peaceful Pieces: poems and quilts about piece. New York. Greenwillow Books ISBN 0805089969
Hines, Anna Grossnickle. 2005. Winter Lights: A season in poems and quilts. New York. Greenwillow Books ISBN 0805089969
Children’s fiction books about quilts
Brumbeau, Jeff. 2001. The Quiltmaker’s Gift. Ill. Marken, Gail de. New York. Scholastic Press. ISBN 9780439309103
Polacco, Patricia. 2001. The Keeping Quilt. Aladdin. ISBN 9780689844478
Children’s nonfiction books about quilts
Paul, Ann Whitford. 1996. Eight Hands Round: A Patchwork Alphabet. Ill Winter, Jeanette. Harper Collins. ISBN 9780064434645
Willing, Karen Bates and Dock, Julie Bates. 1994. Quilting Then and Now. Ill. Morse, Sarah. Now and Then Publications. ISBN 0964182017
Here is a Readers' Guide for PIECES created by graduate student Stephanie Doty.
Recommended ages levels 5-8
1. Summary of book
This collection of poems is about the four seasons of the year—winter, summer, spring, fall. It offers a collection on twenty poems all about seasons and what goes along with the seasons. It also offers amazing illustrations made of quilts. Each illustration expands across each and every page of this book. Each page almost tells a story of its through the colorful detail of the quilts. There is also another book by this author that compliments it well and it is WINTER LIGHTS: A SEASON IN POEMS AND QUILTS.
2. Review excerpts/awards
*Starred review in BOOKLIST: “This lovely book combines the intricacies of quilting with the wonders of the changing seasons.”
*Starred review in KIRKUS REVIEWS: “Hines raises the bar considerably for illustrators working in fabric, pairing 20 new or previously published seasonal poems with spectacular quilted and appliquéd piecework scenes.”
*Starred review in PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY: “Her language, both playful and adroit, allows readers to see familiar seasonal changes anew.”
*Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children's Poetry 2002
*National Parenting Publications Awards (NAPPA) Gold Medal for poetry and folklore, 2001
*NCTE Notable Children's Books 2002
*Kentucky Bluegrass Award Nominee for 2002-2003
*Texas Bluebonnet Masterlist for 2002-2003
*Oregon's Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award Nominee for 2004
*Society of Illustrators Original Art Show, 2001 *Junior Library Guild Selection
*Allentown Art Museum Exhibit, 2001
*American Textile History Museum Exhibit, 2002
*Miniature Quilts, pattern for "To Each His Own", Issue 52, 2001
*American Quilter, "Quilts in a Children's Book, The Making of PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS AND QUILTS" Winter 2002
3. Questions for ask before reading
Invite the children to discuss the following:
*What is this book about? - Look at the book’s cover, think about the title, then predict what the book will be about.
*Imagine and think about the different seasons and what happens in each particular season. What other things do you think this book will be about?
*What is a poem?
*What is a quilt?
*Why do you think the author titled this book PIECES?
*Take a picture walk through the book and read some of the titles of the poems if needed to give the students a better idea of what this book is about.
4. Suggestions for reading poems aloud
*”Do You Know Green?” – invite the whole class to read each of the lines with sound words as you read the poem aloud such as, “Psst! “Psst! Psst” and “Ping!” “Ping! Ping!”
*"Winter Sunshine” – Divide the class into two groups. Have group one read the first stanza, the entire class read “only…”, and group two read the second stanza. Repeat the poem three times.
*Divide the class into four groups and have them choose a poem from PIECES: A YEAR IN POEMS AND QUILTS. Have each group decide how they want to read the poem during their performance and create motions to go with their poem.
5. Follow up activities (writing, art, science, etc.)
Have the students choose their favorite season of the year and brainstorm all of the things about that season. Then have them write a poem about their favorite season and what they like to do within that season.
Take the class outside to observe the current season using their five senses. Using a clipboard, paper, and pencil have the students record what they hear, see, smell, fell, and taste.
Divide the class into groups and assign each group a different state. Have the students conduct research about that states four seasons or a particular season (whichever you choose). Then have them present their finding to the class. As a class discuss the similarities and differences between the states and their seasons.
6. Related web sites/blogs
*Anna Grossnickle Hines web site:
[Look here for teaching ideas for this book as well as other books by Hines.]
*Poetry 4 Kids
[Look here for additional poems, books, and games to use with the class. This web site is also kid-friendly providing students the opportunit to navigate the site and read poems on their own.]
[Look here for language arts teaching ideas along with activities. Students are able to create an acrostic poem directly from this web site as well as print it out.]
[Look here for poetry theater, poetry class, poetry fun, and much more. This kid-friendly site offers an abundance of activities for students. Teachers will also benefit from this site.]
7. Related books (poetry, nonfiction, fiction)
* WINTER LIGTHS: A SEASON IN POEMS AND QUILTS by Anna Grossnickle Hines
*SPRING ACROSS AMERICA Simon Seymour
*AUTUMN ACROSS AMERICA Simon Seymour
*THE REASONS FOR THE SEASONS Gail Gibbons