Piecing Earth and Sky Together: A Creation Story from the Mien Tribe of Laos
By Nancy Raines Day
Illustrated by Genna Panzarella
"In the beginning, a helper from heaven named Faam Koh came down to make the sky. His sister, Faam Toh, came down to make the earth…"
So begins the delightful story of a very competitive pair who use the distinctive embroidery of the Mien people to create the earth and sky. Because both siblings want to make their part of the world the most beautiful, they work in secret until it is finally time to reveal their handiwork, and find out that the two pieces don’t fit together!
The two try stretching the sky- only to result in some stuffing falling out as clouds, but Faam Toh solves the problem by stitching the fabric into mountains, rivers, gorges, and valleys. Only then do the earth and sky fit perfectly, allowing all the plants and animals to thrive.
Like the detailed Mien embroidery in the story, Nancy Raines Day’s retelling of this traditional Mien tale and Genna Panzarella’s striking illustrations also fit together like the earth and sky. Together, they create a book that is alive with the richness and beauty of the Mien culture and of the earth itself. An author’s explanation of the tradition and significance of Mien embroidery follows the story.
About the Creators
is the author of "A Kitten's Year" and "The Lion's Whiskers: An Ethiopian Folktalke," a New York Times Notatble Book. Ms. Day, who also teaches writing for children, resides in Georgia with her husband.
is an artist and teacher living near San Francisco, where she and her husband raised two sons. When she is not teaching or creating art, you will find Genna rider her horses. She also loves to travel and has been to South East Asia as well as Africa, India, and China. Genna received her BFA at Washington State University, and studied for a year in Aixen-Provence, France. Genna's artwork has explored many media, including fabrics, clothing, glass, oils, bronze, and even chalk drawing on sidewalks. This is her first children's book illustration.