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A Picture Book Biography for World AIDS Day

Stitch by Stitch: Cleve Jones and the AIDS Memorial Quilt written by Rob Sanders and illustrated by Jamey Christoph, published by Magination Press.

I admire how Rob Sanders presents the biography of Cleve Jones and the making of the AIDS Memorial Quilt in a tapestry of words that recounts events and engages emotions. His lyricism invites readers into Cleve's life from the moment his grandmother stitches his first quilted blanket to the moment when love and loss inspire him to create one on a much larger scale.

Readers will sympathize with Cleve's early experiences of bullying and how lonely that left him feeling. When Cleve ventures on his own in search of community and eventually works to promote understanding and equal rights, his courage inspires readers to become more conscious of bias and discrimination in their own communities.

Furthermore, Jamey Christoph's illustrations, in a soft color palette, enhance this book as each page visually stitches words and images together into a patchwork of life, love, and progress for the LGBTQ+ community.

Stitch by Stitch is perfect for class discussion. Sanders provides useful back matter that includes possible questions young readers may pose (and answers), a glossary, and timelines.

Imagine It!

Quilts are warm and cozy just like memories that wrap around us when we think of someone we love.

Working with our hands -- by writing a letter or a name, by drawing or painting, by sculpting or baking -- while thinking of a special person helps us feel closer to that person.

Do you love someone who may have passed on or whom you don't get to see very often? Imagine something you could create while thinking about them. Imagine how that would make you feel. Imagine how loved they would feel.

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