by Katherine Paterson
Pamela Dalton, illustrator
Inside Jacket: Newbery Medal winner Katherine Paterson’s meditations on what it means to be truly grateful—a celebration of joy at once exuberant and introspective—and cut-paper artist Pamela Dalton’s meticulous and exquisite cut-paper illustrations are paired with a collection of more than fifty graces, poems, and praise songs harvested from a wide range of cultures, religions, and voices. The unique collaboration between these two extraordinary artists, which first took root in Brother Sun, Sister Moon, flowers again in this stunningly beautiful reflection on the most remarkable of human emotions: gratitude.
Opening: Hanging on the wall of my small study is a beautiful piece of calligraphy. In the center is one word, Joy, and on either side is a passage from the Book of Isaiah:
You shall go out with joy and be led forth with peace:
The mountains and the hills will break forth in singing
And the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
About the Book: Ms. Paterson begins the book by telling us why she is thankful every day. She is thankful for her home and having food to eat. She is thankful for the joy she has experienced and the sorrows that helped her grow. She is even thankful for her “crazy dog.” Oh, and Ms. Paterson is thankful for the rest of her family. Her first mediation ends with a prayer from seventeenth-century poet George Herbert,
“Thou that hast given so much to me, give one
thing more—a grateful heart.”
Giving Thanks is divided into four sections: Gather Around the Table, A Celebration of Life, The Spirit Within, and Circle of Community. Inside each section are enough words of thanks that everyone should be able to find at least a half-dozen to reflect upon, to adopt as their own, and to say at Thanksgiving and every other day of the year. Here is a short list of contributions:
Gaelic Blessings The Bible
Inuit Songs Native Americans
Helen Keller Chinese Proverbs
e. e. cummings Ralph Waldo Emerson
What I Thought: Giving Thanks is a book of thanks as expressed in prayers, poems, and the words of people wiser than I. Giving Thanks is a beautiful book from cover to cover. The illustrations have a look of lace, though not one strip of lace was used. The cut-paper technique was popular in the nineteenth-century. The artist folds the paper and freehand cuts ending with a symmetrical design. Other techniques include tracing on a pattern and cutting around it.
Ms. Dalton gave her cut-paper designs an antique look using coffee as the dye. She then ironed the piece, and on some, used watercolor to bring out depth and illuminate characters. The cover shouts out, “something special” is on every page, and it is right, there are cut-paper designs to astound you and text to enlighten you.
With Thanksgiving just a couple of weeks away, Giving Thanks is the book to help you through that day and every day that follows this holiday season. This time of year is one of joy, happiness, family, and friends. Tables are often overflowing with the abundance of those people present and finding things to be thankful for will be extremely easy. It is easy to feel thankful, but not as easy to express your thankfulness. What does one say? Thank you. Thanks.
Every year at Thanksgiving dinner, we would go around the table and everyone was put on the spot and told to say what, that year, we are thankful for. Giving Thanks would make this ritual much more meaningful to everyone, not just the person speaking, if we each chose a passage from the book that expressed how we felt. Mine might be:
“Do all the good you can
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
To all the people you can,
As long as ever you can.”
Those six lines are exactly what, for me, social work entails. Even retired it is difficult not to function with this at my core. I was surprised to find a poem that fit me as well as Mr. Wesley’s poem. If asked today what I am thankful for, I would like to remember the above. I am thankful to have worked with the kids I worked with and helped. Giving Thanks made me realize there was a way to express my thankfulness other than stumbling over words that do not come out of my mouth correctly. Grandma is off to the side saying, “Huh, what did she say? Sounded like a cat whining.”
Giving Thanks is a beautiful book for the holidays. It will look gorgeous sitting out, waiting for friends and family to open it up. Giving Thanks will undoubtedly start many conversations about thankfulness and then segue into memories once forgotten. A book like Giving Thanks is a catalyst for growth and a beautiful addition to any holiday décor.
Handprint Books website
Released October 15, 2013
Age 5 and up
© 2013 by Handprint Books, used with permission
Original text copyright © 2013 by Minna Murra, Inc.
Meditations copyright © 2013 by Katherine Paterson
Illustrations copyright © 2013 by Pamela Dalton
Handprint Books is an imprint of Chronicle Books
- Review: Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (grownupbookreports.wordpress.com)
- Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson , Reviewed by Taylor Page (lhsbookreviews2014.wordpress.com)
- Katherine Paterson Prize for Young Adult and Children’s Writing (kathytemean.wordpress.com)