Eisha's father is no longer around but the memories of him are still strong. Inspired by the time she picked lemons with him, she crafts a shape out of clay and paints it the colour of lemons. The object is perfect until it breaks and shatters into tiny pieces. Eisha knows that it will never be a lemon again but maybe it doesn’t have to be and her mother knows just how to rebuild it…
Touching and tender, Many Shapes of Clay is a gentle tale of love, loss and the healing power of creativity. Weaving a story of the loss of a parent with the breaking of an inanimate object, Kenesha Sneed sensitively explores those things that cannot be fixed no matter how much we want them to be, instead, the healing process involves change, acceptance and building something new. Eisha learns from her mother to address and deal with her grief rather than ignoring it and about the need to move on when unfortunate and upsetting things happen. Coping with change and how we react to situations out of our control are valuable skills to impart on children
Given the state of the world over the last couple of years, many children have experienced loss in many forms - relatives, friends, time at school, playdates, social activities, the everyday normality of life. Eisha’s ability to learn to live with loss and to rebuild something out of what is left is heartwarming and uplifting. This is a message that will resonate with many children who themselves will be trying to pick up the pieces of the last two years and rebuild their lives. It ultimately says to them, life may be difficult and the pieces may fall apart but they can be put back together one way or another; we all have the ability to heal, rebuild and create something new.
Very much a metaphorical book on loss and grief, this is one that may be lost on younger readers and would be better appreciated by middle-graders. The simple text and beautiful artwork convey those thoughts, feelings and emotions that can be oh so difficult for all of us to put into words and really open the door for thoughtful and meaningful conversations.
Powerful and poignant, this subtle exploration of healing after a loss offers vital messages that many of us, not just children, need.
Recommended for 5+.