Many Shapes of Clay
Kenesha Sneed the author and illustrator of this beautiful book is an award-winning multidisciplinary artist and creative director of Tactile Matter. Now she has created this story wherein we share in the work and daily lives of a girl named Eisha and her ceramic artist mother who works in a basement studio. Eisha too uses clay but unlike her mother, she doesn’t put her creations on a shelf and one day she forms a shape that makes her feel happy, reminding her of her Papa whom she has lost fairly recently.
As the heat of the day increases, Eisha’s Mama suggests some fresh air and they go out to do some errands. While her mother shops, Eisha sits playing with her yellow shape; now it reminds her of the ocean. Gradually though it hardens in the heat and eventually cracks, shattering into small pieces:
‘ Each piece reflects the sadness she feels.’
When her Mama sees the pieces and hears what her daughter has to say she knows instinctively of a way to help, and together they create something new and different.
With a focus on the process of healing through creativity, Kenesha Sneed’s powerful, poignant story shows a girl learning to live with her loss while at the same time using her inventiveness to fashion something new from what remains.
By using a straightforward text, Kenesha allows her striking images to convey much of the emotion and her story’s powerful message that within us all is the power to heal.
Not only will this book resonate with those who have lost someone dear to them, it also offers all youngsters an opening to talk about their feelings of loss in relation to the pandemic and what it has taken from them during the last twelve months or so, be that contact with friends, family, classmates, even normal life in general. It’s definitely one I’d advocate adding to primary class collections and family bookshelves.