Mama’s Wreaths


by Julia Taylor Ebel with M. Joann Moretz

The kitchen at Joanie’s mountain home is filled with fresh fir and hemlock branches, evergreens that Mama will use as she makes wreaths to sell before Christmas. Joanie is eager to learn to make wreaths like Mama’s. As Mama patiently guides her, Joanie learns not only about wreath making, but also about trust and joy—lessons entwined with fragrant evergreen. Joanie’s story unfolds through a garland of gentle free verse poems that readers of all ages will savor.

Mama’s Wreaths speaks to the heart of persons whose lives are neither glamorous nor ordinary, and it affirms the importance of their uniquely rich experience. As are Julia’s other books, Mama’s Wreaths is inspired by the lives of real people—in this case, the wreath-making experiences of writer M. Joann Moretz and her family. The story invites us all to look with gentle hearts toward those unseen faces and unheard stories of so many who touch our lives with joy.

In Mama’s Wreaths, Julia Taylor Ebel’s dedication to keeping cultural stories shines through. As she weaves slices of life, she reminds us of the importance of passing on the knowledge, traditions, and stories we value. Mama’s Wreaths is a heartwarming story to be read and shared at Christmas and throughout the year.

Enhanced by Joann Moretz’s keen eye for detail, Mama’s Wreaths includes Julia’s delicate pencil sketches plus end notes on wreath making in western North Carolina, Christmas tree production, and simple instructions on making a wreath.

M.  Joann Moretz, a native of Watauga County, North Carolina, holds childhood Christmas memories of the family kitchen and occasionally the backyard shed serving as workshops for her mother’s wreath making. Her grandmother Sarah, older sister Brenda, and other family members also learned the craft of wreath making as did many Appalachian Mountain women.

Reflecting on Mama’s Wreaths, Joann Moretz says, “This story is a treasure of mixed jewels of my childhood memories, Appalachian mountain life, the passing on of a family craft, and much more.”

What others say:

“The story is old and true—and fresh and new. Every page that Julia Taylor Ebel and Joann Moretz set down here smells like Christmas.”
–Fred Chappell, former NC Poet Laureate and author of Shadow Box

“Beautifully crafted as one of Mama’s wreaths, this charming collection of narrative poems, strung together like cranberries on a Christmas tree…. Inspiring, warm and authentic, the story of Mama’s Wreaths will quickly enfold you in its pine-scented arms—become a family tradition as beloved as placing a wreath on your own front door.”
–Terri Kirby Erickson, author of In the Palms of Angels

“… sensitive poem story…. The simplicity of Joanie’s voice rings true, and her fears, longings and insights resonate beyond life in the mountains. Mama’s Wreaths is a Christmas story and more…. [Ebel] paints her resilient young protagonists, their families and the magnificent mountain landscape with a delicate brush, revealing beauty of place and character honed by the demands of mountain living.”
–Patricia Koehler, co-author of Oakdale Cotton Mill

Order from the author.
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Priced $10.95 for softcover (ISBN  978-098290543-2)

Discounts for classroom sets