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Some Handsome Hands

$8 US/$10 CAN

the HANDS Issue


art by Erika Hess

root & star

is a magazine of beauty where we inspire & reflect the WHOLE child— These are pieces of paintings by Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini (1430–1516). They all portray mother Mary holding baby Jesus. I love to look at these big and little, gentle and beautiful hands.

the wise & the wild the strange & the sweet— from their ROOTS to their STARS

Publisher, Designer, Editor-in-Chief Courtney Mandryk ( Executive Editor Christine Hartzler ( Money Queequeg Office J.D. Ho ISSN: 2470-7783 (print) Printed by T&N Printing ( Copyright 2016-17 by Root & Star, LLC. No part of Root & Star magazine may be reproduced without prior consent from the publisher. 3194 Preddy Creek Road Charlottesville, VA 22911 To SUBSCRIBE (6 issues per year for $45): visit or send $45 to Root & Star 3194 Preddy Creek Rd Charlottesville, VA 22911 questions and connections:

In this blurry life as parents, hands are easily taken for granted as we make and do, but in this issue of root & star, we devote ourselves to the humble hand. Our small children speak so well with their hands before their first words even come out. Later on, our poor toddlers are often reminded what hands are not for. Hands are not for hitting/grabbing/pushing! In this issue, we explore what hands can be for. Hands are for holding. Hands are for peeling an effervescent clementine. Hands are for making beauty out of dirt and clay. Hands are for washing your feet. Sometimes hands are feet, and you walk on them. Sometimes feet are hands, and you learn with them. Hands were once paws. Hands are always for helping. The more hands helping, the better. Hands are for painting and sewing. Hands are for scratching and soothing, stroking hair and smoothing out worries. Hands are for love. Hands are for making and giving these pages. Hands are for turning these pages with children we love.

*Our friend Elizabeth Ames Staudt is the author of that beautiful phrase “headfirst heartburst.”


Love, c&c

C hr




ome people say that when you have a baby, the first thing you’ll do is touch their hands. We personally don’t recall the first thing we did in that headfirst heartburst* forever moment. Maybe some of us did think Hands! But we suspect most parents were thinking their own version of an ecstatic and ineffable Wow.


Issue 9: May/June 2017


What would happen if we threw all the magazines into the ocean? There would be a title wave!

table of contents Front by Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen Hello by Erika Hess


Beast Rocks Applesauce “Paw Prints!” by Courtney Mandryk


Poem “Tide Pool” poem by C.M. Andrews art by Susan Eaddy Make “Rice in a Happy Dress” by Courtney Mandryk


Root & Star Comic art by Lida Larina story by Courtney Mandryk


Make “Clemen-Times” by Courtney Mandryk quote graphic by Atabey Sánchez-Haiman


Do “The Brain in Your Thumb” art by Jonathan James


Make “Dorodango” art, photographs, and activity by Courtney Mandryk and Beth Winn


Song “Simple Gifts” art by Heather Franzen Rutten text by Elder Joseph Brackett


True Story “Mud Heart Elephant” photographs by Marjo van Dijck words by Courtney Mandryk


Poem “My Fingers” by Mary O’Neill art by Diane Komater


Stars African Dinka Prayer (anonymous) art by Jonathan James


Activity “Look & See!” art by Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen


Roots “How the Earth Was Made” Native American tale retold by Christine Hartzler art by Courtney Mandryk


Visual Encyclopedia “Clay Sunsets” vessels by Melissa Mytty paintings by Courtney Mandryk


Move “Saguaro Pose” art by Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen text by Christine Hartzler

Goodbye by Erika Hess

Ask Arden art by David Gregal Jr. words by Courtney Mandryk

Back “Hand” by Jennifer Davis




You Are an Artist art by Zazu and Kabir


“Alice the Itchy Eucalyptus” by Derek Mong

Root & Star

Would you like to play in this water?

It might be.

Oh, oh... Will it be wet?

Is it deep?

It might be. I will make sure of it.

Are there dragons in there? If a dragon comes, will you be with me?

Only the cute kind. I will always be here for you.

Even when you are sleeping?

I am ALWAYS in your heart.

Then let’s jump!

1, 2, 3!


Will I laugh?


M ake Make

CLEMENTINES CUT AND CURLED You could love a clementine just for its skin. Try to SO carefully peel the skin away from the round fruit. It smells delicious in your hands. You could eat the fruit, and then take small scissors and cut shapes like flowers and stars, curly things, turtles, and faces. If you like, you can make a hole in the peel, put a string through it, and hang it so it floats. They curl and darken as they dry.


You might not unpeel your eyes from these candied citrus peels: 1. Boil about six peels (cut however you like) in slightly salty water for ten minutes; drain and rinse. 2. Repeat. 3. Make simple syrup (2 cups sugar, 1.5 cups boiling water; simmer five minutes). 4. Add peels; gently simmer for about an hour (until tender and translucent). 5. Transfer to rack and drain thirty minutes. 6. Coat with (superfine) sugar.

Can you make a clementine look like wings?

Or a star?

quote graphic by Atabey Sรกnchez-Haiman




iam walks down to his creek where the frogs live. He scoops up some thick red mud and presses the water out. He squeezes and shakes the mud, rotating it until it is a sticky ball. He shapes the mud into a sphere with his hands. Then, he adds dry dirt, little by little, smoothing and rolling and growing a ball that becomes a hikaru dorodango. Hikaru dorodango is a Japanese art form. It means “shining mud dumpling.� It is a traditional pastime for children in Japan. Dorodango can look very shiny if you polish them a lot, and their colors can be so varied depending on the type of mud you find. Though they look solid, they are very fragile. Try making your own!


1. Find mud that feels like dough. 2. Shape it into a sphere, squeezing out water as you shape. Gently shaking the ball helps it to compact. Shape, shake, shape, shake. Do this until the ball is tacky to the touch. 3. Sprinkle fine dirt over the ball. Rub and rotate, rub and rotate.

4a. Optional: put the ball in a plastic bag for twenty minutes, resting it on a cloth. 4b. Remove the ball and repeat step 3. 4c. Continue to repeat steps 3 and 4 until the ball feels leather-hard. 5. Polish with a soft cloth.

Dorodango photographs and inspiration by Beth and Liam Winn

True Story


photographs by Marjo van Dijck words by Courtney Mandryk


n elephant went for a walk in the woods where the air was alive with the bright sounds of laughter. As he played with his friends and considered childhood, he watched them and thought about TOES and their rapture.


The children were free of their shoes and their socks. They had peeled off their footwear; they balanced on logs. They felt the world FULLY—the dew and the rocks, the leaves and the clay and the squidge-squirching bogs. They felt the soft grass and the light-dappled dirt, the opaque pond and the mud-caked shade. They felt the sharp sticks and the sedimentary earth. They were one with the bugs on the bridges that swayed.


The elephant laughed as he thought, “Feet are thinking! There are muscles and nerves—hearts are beating down there.” He went on to think, “Feet are blinking and drinking! They are absorbing memories and learning to care.” The children were gentle: they played kindly with him. They loved one another and chose not to be mean. They were as patient and wise as the world they played in. And when they were done, they scrubbed the elephant clean.

I love dirt, and dirt doesn’t hurt.


Look & see! paintings by Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen

What time of day is it? What is going on in this colorful room? 12

And now what time of day is it? Can you name all the things that have changed?

Roots a Native American tale retold by Christine Hartzler art by Courtney Mandryk



n the beginning, there was no earth to live on, but up above, in the Great Blue, there was a woman who dreamed dreams.

One night she dreamed about a tree covered with white blossoms that filled the sky with light. When the blossoms closed, however, a terrible darkness would come.


The dream frightened her. She told her friend Wind about it. Wind heard her fear and sent a strong gust through the Great Blue to uproot the tree.

But the woman fell through the hole left by the tree. There was nothing below! Just an endless emptiness. The woman’s dress billowed like a bluebell as she fell. Eventually the emptiness became a great ocean. The woman was falling fast toward the water. Suddenly, a fish hawk came to her rescue and caught her in his wings. He held her above the waves, his feathers a pillow for her head. It is hard work to hold a life in your hands. The fish hawk called to the other water creatures for help. “Friends, we must find firm ground for Sky-Woman to rest on!” But there was nothing but water.

These drawings were inspired by the dolls of Margeaux Davis (

A hell-diver dived down to the seabed and brought up a beak full of mud. A sea turtle offered her back, and the hell-diver spread the mud over it. The hell-diver dived again and again. Soon, more creatures joined him—ducks, beavers, crabs, pelicans ‌ and with every bit of mud, the turtle shell grew bigger. The birds and the animals rushed about building countries and continents, until they had made the whole round earth. It is kind of the animals to work together to make land for the woman.


Many hands, wings, and paws make light work.

The mud dried. Sky-Woman stepped safely onto the ground. In gratitude, she scooped up a handful of dirt and threw it up into the air to make the stars.

Snip snap snout. This tale’s told out.

Visual Encyclopedia

vessels by Melissa Mytty


These cups and other vessels are by artist Melissa Mytty. She makes work out of clay, just as the animals did in the previous story. Do you have anything made out of clay in your house?

Melissa says: “My work explores... rosy cheeks covered in polka dot freckles, flowers fluttering in the glow of neon, sweet treats, and freedom to explore... For me, creating is about the journey.�


paintings by Courtney Mandryk

This is a sunset quote from the poet Emily Dickinson.

How can a sunset be in a cup? For me, when it is shiny and peaceful inside, I know I have caught the setting sun.

What do you think a sunset would taste like?

Move Move

art by Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen text by Christine Hartzler

by Christine Hartzler art by Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen

SAGUARO POSE It is fun and important to MOVE! Here is a chance to move in creative ways. Can you be like a cactus? This is a type of cactus called a saguaro (“sa-WAH-row”).

Hello to sisters Auggie (age 11) and Marina (age 6). 20

root your feet into the desert stand straight and tall grow your head to the stars grow your arms out and up turn your hands into flowers turn your flowers into red fruits throw your seeds into the wind

True saguaros typically live two hundred years! A saguaro begins to grow its first arm at age fifty or older. How many arms do you have? How old are you?

Ask Arden

drawings by David Gregal jr.


Beast Rocks Applesauce An Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Exploration by Courtney Mandryk

Fox prints look similar to cats and dogs. The dots are its claws.


PAW PRINTS! What prints do YOUR paws make?

Skunk paw prints look like tiny human dancing footprints.

Raccoons have really beautiful paws that they use much like we use our hands.

The squirrel’s front feet appear behind its hind feet because of the way that it hops.


poem by C. M. Andrews art by Susan Eaddy

TIDE POOL A little world among the rocks, a sunlit, salty pond reflecting sky and clouds and me, peering from above. Below the water, holding tight, blue mussels cling to stones, sea urchins spread their fragile spines, hermit crabs switch homes. I move aside the seaweed fronds to find a starfish in the sand and gently touch and count five arms, a starry mirror to my hand. A little world of rock and sea— a little world reflecting me.

Can you find a starfish?

A tide pool is made when a low spot near an ocean fills with water. Some sea creatures find themselves living there. They live their lives in this special, calmer pool, and we get to inspect the ocean world more closely.




nce there was a dress of birds and stripes that a child wore so much that simply looking at the pattern of the dress made the people who loved her recall one thousand happy memories. When the child outgrew the dress, the birds and stripes sat folded, sleeping in a drawer. The dress wanted to be more. So the child and her mother cut out the birds and stripes and sewed them together. They poured rice into the birds and sewed them up into small pillows. Then, when the child felt sick or when she was cold and needed soothing, someone warmed up a tiny pillow and put it on the child’s belly or in her still-small hands. When she fell, there was a piece of the dress that lived in the freezer, and it flew out with the happy memories to cool the sting of her wound. The dress lived on.

Sometimes it is hard to cut up things that you love, but you can turn them into something new.


HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SMALL PILLOWS 1. Find clothes from when you were tiny. 2. Cut out a portion in a shape you like. 3. Trace that shape (with the fabric upside down) on another part of the cloth.

4. Sew the pieces together inside out, leaving a 2� hole. 5. Turn the fabric rightside out. 6. Fill with rice (and/or bits of lavender). 7. Sew the small hole closed. 8. Put your pillow in the freezer or warm it in a microwave.


the brain in your thumb


he hand is so sensitive to touch, isn’t it? Some people feel that there are parts of your hand that connect to parts of your body. Do you feel a zing in your brain when you touch your thumb? If your ear hurts, does it feel better if you touch the base of your ring finger? When our friend was very young and could not sleep, her mother touched her fingertips gently, one fingertip at a time, and this calmed her down. When you touch your fingertips, what does it feel like?

fingertips: sinuses



stomach lungs

spine pancreas

liver kidney painting by Jonathan James






Here is a story about a cat who chases a mama mouse. What does the cat do when she sees that the mouse has little babies to take care of? ... And can you sing this song?


wire art by Diane Komater poem by Mary O’Neill

My Fingers

My fingers are antennae. Whatever they touch: Bud, rose, apple, Cellophane, crutch— They race the feel Into my brain, Plant it there and Begin again. This is how I knew Hot from cold Before I was even Two years old. This is how I can tell, Though years away That elephant hide Feels leathery grey. My brain never loses A touch I bring: Frail of an eggshell, Pull of a string, Beat of a pulse That tells me life Thumps in a person But not in a knife. Signs that say: “Please do not touch,” Disappoint me Very much.


Poem from Fingers Are Always Bringing Me News by Mary O’Neill. © 1969 by Mary O’Neill. Reprinted by permission of Marian Reiner.

Wow! This artist curls wire into shapes to make her art. You can make art out of anything.

Here is a poem that is also a prayer. It can be said at bedtime to help you have the most peaceful sleep all night long. Does it calm you?

painting by Jonathan James


You Are an Artist “Andy and the Oxen” by Zazu, age 5

African Dinka prayer

Kabir, age 7, made Valentines for each of his twenty-seven classmates. Made with beeswax crayons, each one took over two hours. Kabir says, “This world needs more love right now!”

root & star

Do YOU have art that you would like to share with ? Hooray! Please email us (hello@rootandstar. com) a quality photograph or scan of your work, including a sentence or two, or a poem, or anything you would like to say. We can’t wait to hear from you!


The TALLER ARTISTs & WRITErs C. M. Andrews (Tide Pool poem) is a writer and teacher who lives on a small farm at the top of a tall hill in rural New Hampshire. In the summer, she enjoys exploring tide pools and mountaintops with her husband and son. Joseph Brackett (Simple Gifts song) (1797-1838) was a Shaker songwriter, author, and elder. Jennifer Davis (back cover) is a painter from Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes.” Her paintings are inspired by furry critters, scary movies, and vintage toys. ( Marjo van Dijck (Mud Heart Elephant photographs) is a teacher and lover of mud. She lives in Virginia. Susan Eaddy (Tide Pool art) writes picture books and plays with clay. Her clay critters inhabit pizza boxes in her attic studio, and she’s pretty sure they play while the humans sleep. Her books include, My Love for You Is the Sun, Papa Fish’s Lullaby, Poppy’s Best Paper, and Poppy’s Best Babies. ( David Gregal Jr. (Ask Arden art) lives in Washington, DC. At the end of the day, he loves reading books with his wife and two kids before bedtime. ( Christine Hartzler is one of the makers of this magazine. She is a mother, writer, and editor who is moving from Seattle to Santa Fe this year. Erika Hess (Hello/Goodbye) is an artist, plant lover, and mama of one adventurous little girl! She lives near the sea in Boston. She enjoys spending her time painting flowers and other interesting objects she finds while exploring with her daughter and partner. ( Abbigail Knowlton Israelsen (cover, Look & See, and Move) is an artist who lives in the forest of Indiana. Abbi likes to look for fossils, mushrooms, and geodes with her three children. ( Jonathan James (Brain in Your Thumb art, Stars art): interdimensional space squirrel; illustrator. ( Diane Komater (wire art) is a wireist! She has exhibited her work all over the country. ( Lida Larina (Root & Star comic) lives in Russia. Every day, Lida walks her best friend—her black dog named Babai. After their walk, Lida draws the sleeping Babai. ( Courtney Mandryk is one of the makers of this magazine. Once, she hurt her hand and could not use it for over a year, and now it has magic powers (though it looks like a normal hand). She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and Ann Arbor, Michigan. ( Derek Mong (Alice the Eucalyptus) Derek Mong is a professor at Wabash College, where he keeps a healthy supply of Legos and Starbursts in his office. His second collection of poems, The Identity Thief (2018), is dedicated to his son, Whitman. ( Melissa Mytty (Visual Encyclopedia) was born and raised in the suburbs of Detroit, Michigan. She has exhibited nationally and is currently working out of her studio in Collegeville, Pennsylvania. ( Mary O’Neill (My Fingers poem) was a poet, advertising copywriter, and freelance writer before she joined the Peace Corps and taught in Ghana and Costa Rica. Heather Franzen Rutten (Simple Gifts art) is an artist and illustrator living in Philadelphia. In her free time, she likes playing video games and attending orchestra concerts. ( Atabey Sánchez-Haiman (Aesop quote graphic) is a Puerto Rican artist and scientist who lives in Providence, Rhode Island with her son. They spend their days drawing, reading, laughing, and going for walks. Beth Winn (Dorodango) is a teacher and naturalist who loves the interaction of art and nature. She lives in Virginia.

There is so much beauty in the world. All you have to do is look for it.

root & star

is published six times per year. Reproduction of any images or text is strictly prohibited without prior permission. All text and art is copyrighted by our individual artists. All rights reserved. Please visit our website www.rootandstar. com to subscribe, to shop, and to find more beauty, peace, and inspiration.


comic by Derek Mong

root & star

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art by Erika Hess

art by Jennifer Davis

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