Sneed, Kenesha. Many Shapes of Clay. (2021). Prestel Junior.
Summary: Eisha is a young girl who is courageous and inquisitive. She thoughtfully inquiries about the emotions of her mother who is grieving the recent loss of her husband who is also Eisha’s father. As an artist Eisha’s mother is a sculpturer who creates and stores several pieces of work in her basement studio. One day Eisha makes a piece of art and watches how it changes over a short period of time. She drops the bright yellow piece which reminds her of a lemon, and it breaks into tiny pieces. Along the way she recognizes that she also feels some of the same emotions that her mother is experiencing. In the end, the story comes together as they both embrace how sadness and connecting are part of the healing process. Eisha and her mother weave together a necklace that symbolizes that certain thing can’t be replaced but making the best out of them is the key.
Strengths: The symbolism in this story is extraordinary! Sneed does an awesome job at cultivating her gift as a creator to talk about the emotions associated with grieving. The illustrations really tell the story. The artwork is strategically placed on the pages which provides comfort for someone who may be reading this book for self-help.
Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses. The realistic aspect of this text will allow it to be used for multiple purposes.
Thoughts: This is a stellar read for those who need inspiration as an upcoming illustrator. It is a great book to add to your social emotional learning collection. It can also be used to share with anybody who needs to hear the message, “That which is broken can always recover and be made anew”.