Across the country, early snowfall covers the ground evoking thoughts of playing outdoors and delighting in Mother Nature’s handiwork and it reminded me of a wonderful book I read this summer: “Snowflakes Fall” by renowned author, Patricia MacLachlan and equally renowned artist Steven Kellogg. He lived in Newtown, CT and was especially grieved by the tragic loss of the twenty-six children in the school shooting which occurred there. She wrote the story in support of these lost children and the entire community of Sandy Hook.
The story is not sad; it does not mention the shooting. Instead, “Snowflakes Fall” dwells on timeless moments in childhood—first snowfalls and the return of spring flowers. The simple metaphor of the cycle of life comes across free of any heavy-handed moral. The refrain: “No two the same—-all beautiful,” repeats, reminding readers of the value of each individual, whether it is children, snowflakes, etc. Throughout the book, MacLachlan deftly weaves the thread of hope reappearing after loss. Day follows night. Spring follows winter. Flowers bloom when winter departs.
Steven Kellogg’s signature illustrations bring the tender story to life. Having lived in Newtown for thirty-five years, he knows the environment and has depicted it with detail and heartfelt affection.
I appreciate this book on several levels. As a picture book, it delights through both the gorgeous artwork and the evocative text. As a metaphor for appreciating each season of life, “Snowflakes Fall” allows us to savor the magic of both winter and spring. For kids who have had challenges in their lives—whether small or large— the story reminds us that life flows forward and brings us out of the times of cold, darkness or fear and delivers us once again to the beauty and inspiration of hope and new growth. These are messages both parent and child can enjoy. For kids who have traveled a traumatic past, it helps them see the possibility of hope and new life.
In conjunction with the publication of “Snowflakes Fall” Random House donated funds to the Sandy Hook School Support Fund and First Book, a literacy foundation.