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Cathy Witbeck
Author, Illustrator
Pysanky Promise

Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Publish)

Alena is a young girl who discovers her grandmother’s hands have grown too shaky to make pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs). She decides that learning the art of pysanky and making a pysanka for her grandmother could be a way to heal her heart. Alena offers to do spring cleaning for her aunt in exchange for pysanky lessons. Her aunt teaches her about the history, symbolism, and method for making pysanky – peh san kee. When Alena becomes frustrated because a drip of wax messes up her first egg, she overcomes the problem by turning the dot into a daisy to enhance the pattern. After much practice, Alena completes an egg with designs and colors that will have a message for her grandmother. When she gives the egg to her grandmother, she tells her that she plans to teach her own children how to make the eggs. Her grandmother hugs her and says, “What a wonderful promise.” The next two pages of the book include a list of colorful borders that explain the meaning behind pysanky symbols. The last page has a pronunciation guide, as well as links to sites that have more information about pysanky.