Aneesa Lee and the Weaver’s Gift
Illustrated by Ashley Bryan
In a series of thoughtful, interlocking poems, Grimes 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 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.