When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Tom Bahti

When Clay Sings by Byrd Baylor, illustrated by Tom Bahti

They say
That every piece
Of clay
Is a piece of
Someone’s
Life.

In faraway times, the artisans of the Southwest peoples smoothed the clay they collected. They painted it with their symbols and heated it to make it strong. When these tribes left their homes, pieces of their past remained behind. When the shards are gathered together, the pictures they make seem to summon the spirits of the people who created them so long ago. When Clay Sings, by Byrd Baylor and illustrated by Tom Bahti, is a melding of archaeology and word craft that brings a unique and subtle sense of the past to today’s students.

For its strong illustrations that echo the original potters’ designs, this book won the Caldecott Honor in 1973. Its few words weave with the drawings to tell a simple story but they also successfully convey a dreaming way of life whose seasonal songs still sound beautifully in our modern days.

When Clay Sings gives a short, poetic introduction to the cultures of Southwest America that should fire the imaginations of young readers.