Cover image for Fiona's lace
Fiona's lace
Polacco, Patricia, author, illustrator.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, [2014]
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations, 29 cm
"Fiona and her family moved from Ireland to Chicago to begin a new life. Yet, when the family is struck with misfortune, will Fiona's lace help save them?"--
General Note:
"A Paula Wiseman Book."
Reading Level:
Ages 4-8.

AD 740 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR LG 4.3 0.5 168298.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
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Central Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Childrens Area-Picture Books
Audubon Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Clarence Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Clearfield Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Dudley Branch Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction On Display
East Aurora Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Eggertsville-Snyder Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Elma Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Grand Island Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Hamburg Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Kenmore Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Lancaster Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Orchard Park Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books
Julia Boyer Reinstein Library J PIC BOOK Juvenile Fiction Picture Books

On Order



An Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona's talent for making one-of-a-kind lace in this heartwarming immigration story from the New York Times bestselling creator of The Keeping Quilt .

Many years ago, times were hard in all of Ireland, so when passage to America becomes available, Fiona and her family travel to Chicago. They find work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona's parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together. And it is the lace that will always provide Fiona with memories of Ireland and of her mother's words: "In your heart your true home resides, and it will always be with you as long as you remember those you love."

This generational story from the family of Patricia Polacco's Irish father brims with the same warmth and heart as the classic The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup , which Kirkus Reviews called "deeply affecting" in a starred review, and embraces the comfort of family commitment and togetherness that Patricia Polacco's books are known for.

Author Notes

Patricia Polacco was born in Lansing, Michigan on July 11, 1944. She attended Oakland Tech High School in Oakland, California before heading off to the California College of Arts and Crafts in Oakland, then Laney Community College in Oakland. She then set off for Monash University, Mulgrave, Australia and the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Melbourne, Australia where she received a Ph.D in Art History, Emphasis on Iconography.

After college, she restored ancient pieces of art for museums. She didn't start writing children's books until she was 41 years old. She began writing down the stories that were in her head, and was then encouraged to join the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. There she learned how to put together a dummy and get a story into the form of a children's picture book. Her mother paid for a trip to New York, where the two visited 16 publishers in one week. She submitted everything she had to more than one house. By the time she returned home the following week, she had sold just about everything.

Polacco has won the 1988 Sydney Taylor Book Award for The Keeping Quilt, and the 1989 International Reading Association Award for Rechenka's Eggs. She was inducted into the Author's Hall of Fame by the Santa Clara Reading Council in 1990, and received the Commonwealth Club of California's Recognition of Excellence that same year for Babushka's Doll, and again in 1992 for Chicken Sunday. She also won the Golden Kite Award for Illustration from the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators for Chicken Sunday in 1992, as well as the Boston Area Educators for Social Responsibility Children's Literature and Social Responsibility Award. In 1993, she won the Jane Adams Peace Assoc. and Women's Intl. League for Peace and Freedom Honor award for Mrs. Katz and Tush for its effective contribution to peace and social justice. She has won Parent's Choice Honors for Some Birthday in 1991, the video Dream Keeper in 1997 and Thank You Mr. Falker in 1998. In 1996, she won the Jo Osborne Award for Humor in Children's Literature. Her titles The Art of Miss. Chew and The Blessing Cup made The New York Times Best Seller List.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

The most compelling feature of this well-crafted immigrants' story is how it might inspire adults to share their own family stories with their kids. Polacco, who is of Russian Ukrainian and Irish descent, uses the experiences of her Irish ancestors to tell this story of a poor lace-making family in Ireland who, after the closing of the local mill, decide they must journey to America. It is a familiar immigrant story of expecting riches but meeting hardship, told with admirable economy and effectiveness, especially at showing the Irish women as indentured servants of a wealthy family in Chicago. The climax is the Great Chicago Fire, which we see from the perspective of Fiona and her little sister, who are alone at home. Fiona grabs some precious lace, executing a nifty reunion of the scattered family, leading to a wonderful resolution. There is quite a lot happening here, and Polacco handles it with aplomb, offering up clear, detailed prose and hardscrabble watercolor illustrations that drive home both rural and urban struggles.--Fletcher, Connie Copyright 2014 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Polacco (Clara and Davie) adds to her library of autobiographical stories with this tale about her Irish forebear Fiona, who learns lace making when her mother's once-expert hands are stricken with arthritis. Fiona's father, Mick, tells his children about finding his way to their mother's house for the first time by following scraps of lace. Not long after they leave Ireland for Chicago, the chaos of the Great Chicago Fire separates Fiona and her sister Annie from their parents, and Fiona helps her parents find them by cutting up her own precious lace to leave a similar trail. While the story occasionally bogs down in detail and the Irish dialect can be a bit over the top ("Such talk, Mick.... You've been kissin' the Blarney"), Polacco's valuable portrait of hardship in Ireland and her descriptions of the unjust working conditions that emigres encountered in the U.S. ("Remember, they are chargin' us rent for the rattrap we live in-they own it! And they'll be levying for your uniform as well") supplies a gritty picture of the immigrant experience. The prestige Fiona's precious skill brings her is a revelation, too. Ages 4-8. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

School Library Journal Review

K-Gr 3-Once again, Polacco has drawn on a rich family history to present this story of courage, perseverance, and love. Young Fiona Hughes and her younger sister, Ailish, loved to hear their father's "grand stories," but their favorite was the one of how their parents met. Mick passed the lace parlor each day at lunch and took a liking to a young lass who worked there. None of the other girls, however, would tell him where she lived. One day he noticed a bit of fine lace tied to a bush and then another a bit farther away tied to a tree and then another, and another. The trail led straight to Annie's house and the couple's eventual marriage. Annie taught her fine skills to Fiona, a talent that would prove both profitable and lifesaving. When the local mill closed, the family left Ireland to work for a wealthy family in Chicago; in exchange for their work, their passage was taken care of, so they received no pay. Fiona's fine lace was beautiful, and there was a market for it, so she made lace while her parents had second jobs in the evenings, including the night of the Great Fire. Abandoning their home for a safer place that fateful night, Fiona and Ailish remembered their father's story and left a trail of lace to direct their parents to them. An endnote explains that a framed piece of Fiona's lace still rests with honor in Polacco's home. Illustrated with pencil and acetone markers in Polacco's recognizable style, this is a story with many themes and lessons-the love of family, the immigrant experience, and family history and stories passing from generation to generation, to name a few. It's sure to find an appreciative audience.-Roxanne Burg, Orange County Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2012. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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