Monday, October 30, 2006

Cherries and Cherry Pits

By Vera B. Williams. I love this book. Bidemmi is a young girl who loves to draw and tell stories about her pictures. She also loves cherries, and in this book all her stories are about “eating cherries and spitting out the pits, eating cherries and spitting out the pits”… or about planting the pits to grow more cherries. It is fun to read this rhythmic tale aloud to young children partly because of the musical language and partly because the voice of the main character is so true to their way of thinking. She has a natural sense of dramatic tension, playing out the development of her characters through physical description and the little twists in how they chose to share their cherries. In the dedication Williams says
“Dear Papa,
I still remember how you told me all those stories and how you saved the drawings I made and how you listened to the stories I told you.
Love, Vera”
This tells me that she was nurtured as a writer and artist from her childhood. Cherries starts out being told in the voice of a downstairs neighbor of Bidemmi's, a woman who always keeps markers and paper ready for her and eagerly listens to her stories. This is the type of woman I want to be. If you have read any of Williams other works (A Chair for my Mother, Amber Was Brave, Essie Was Smart) you will recognize her love of children and her brilliant ability to craft stories that speak to their hearts. I learned from reading her biography online that she lived for a while in an artist community in North Carolina and taught in a progressive Summerhill type school for a while. She also spent time in federal penitentiary for being part of a women’s peace protest at the Pentagon. What an interesting life!

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I read this book when I was living in San Diego. It has so many connections to my early childhood, and I am glad to see it now 10 years later. I had forgotten it's name and now that I see many emotions build up in my heart. I know you probably didn't intend to do this in a blog, but thank you, thank you, thank you. For Cherries and Cherry Pits-Important that it was the right book!