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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Snowflakes Fall, written by Patricia MacLachlan and illustrated by Steven Kellogg. Random House, 2013. $19.99 ages 3 and up

"After the flowers are gone
Snowflakes fall.
    After flake
         After flake
Each one a pattern
All its own -
     No two the same -
     All beautiful."

As we mark the year that has passed since the tragedy in Sandy Hook, I wanted you to know about this first collaboration between long-time friends, Patricia MacLachlan and Steven Kellogg. Mr. Kellogg lived in Sandy Hook for a number of years and was touched deeply by the death of so many children. He speaks of his time there, in his dedication:

"...and was followed by a hundred more books that were created in the attic studio of our old farmhouse. The changing seasons in the woodlands, fields, and streams that surround the Sandy Hook village provided an idyllic environment for raising a family. Those scenes and memories inspired these illustrations."

As she so often does, Patricia MacLachlan creates a story that resonates with comfort and family times. She uses the image of the snowflake to speak to her readers about the special qualities of every child and how no two are the same. Her hope is that through her story children everywhere will find peace and inspiration. The fact that the shootings took place in December, and that the CPTSA
encouraged others to create paper snowflakes to bring hope to the students as they returned to school, had a huge impact on her decisions lyrical story she tells.

Creating the beautifully compelling illustrations to match his friend's soft and lovely words helped Mr. Kellogg begin to deal with the overwhelming sense of loss so many were sharing. Patricia MacLachlan had the words, Steven Kellogg the art...together they have created a story that helps to restore the joy that is innate in children when snow falls and the seasons change. We sense a renewal of our belief in the cycles of our lifetimes and the great joy that memories eventually bring.

"Snowflakes fall
To quilt meadows
So we see the wandering prints
                Of birds
                                                   The bobcat at dawn
And the footprints of small red boots -
Making sled paths
And snowmen
And forts
And fields of snow angels."

May the angels that died that day know they live in the hearts of so many....all beautiful, and missed.

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