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TIME PIECES by Virginia Hamilton

TIME PIECES

The Book of Times

By Virginia Hamilton

Age Range: 10 - 12

Pub Date: Oct. 1st, 2002
ISBN: 0-590-28881-4
Publisher: Blue Sky/Scholastic

Drawing in part from her own memories, the late, much-honored author takes a child through a summer of high times and low, of anxious moments and long, lazy days, of loss, love, laughter, and strengthening ties to the past. Between sitting on the porch with her father as night falls in the opening scene, and by the end hearing enough from her mother and cousin about her great-grandfather’s boyhood escape from slavery to bring him into focus within her, Valena shares her wonderful stories. She lays eyes on a traveling circus’s huge great ape; runs through hail to safety as a tornado passes nearby; sees her big brother come crashing through the ceiling; grieves at the passing of a loyal, intelligent dog; hears “tells” from elders about her family’s past, and more. Written in Hamilton’s usual distinctive, creamy idiom, these episodes move back and forth in time, capturing a child finding her place amid those of generations past and present. “Time, and Valena with nothing much to do but sit by her mom, waiting for a tell to rise in her. It was summer, you know, and no school. Well, Valena didn’t even know she was waiting. But somehow, if she stayed still near a grown-up in her family, she’d hear something she’d not heard before.” The first (one hopes not the last) of Hamilton’s works to appear posthumously, this makes a loving, thoughtful addition to her unique literary legacy. (Fiction. 10-12)