Saturday’s Share: Palindromic Word Art!


Palindromic Word Art by Annalise S. Burton, at age 5.

Welcome to Saturday’s Share -Reflections and impressions inspired by and celebrating images from daily life, to add a bit of sparkle to the weekend. Happy Saturday!

Today’s Share is courtesy of my daughter, Annalise. I’ve Shared the image before, here and here, but, since it’s the last day of Palindrome Week, I thought I’d take a fresh look at it, and, of course, share it, ’cause that’s how we roll round here on Saturdays!

Annalise made this art when she was 5. She was figuring out lots of things about letters and sounds then. If she’d been in school, she wouldn’t have been home when my husband chopped kindling wood, wouldn’t have been there keeping him company, wouldn’t have been tempted, on a crisply warm early fall day, by the fresh newness of the revealed surfaces, or free to make of them what she would.

Schools have set times for studying letters and sounds. On that weekday morning, as every morning, Annalise was free to explore as she pleased.

So she noodled around with the wood for a while, chatting with her dad, taking breaks to ride her bike, and to run around the yard. She made a picture of a horse. Then, a little while later, she showed me this – one of her first efforts at spelling and word creation. I took pictures, because I don’t have smiley-faced worksheets to mark her progress toward reading, and this, let’s face it, is a lot cooler, anyway.

It wasn’t until this week that I realized she had made a palindrome.

And she herself was the catalyst for the realization.

“Hey, Mom,” she said. I was Mommy when she was 5. Now she’s almost 10, and I’m Mom. “Did you know that, if you spell ‘racecar’ backwards, it spells ‘racecar’?”

I played with letters in my head. “Hey, you’re right. That’s cool!” And then I told her that that was called a palindrome, and we talked about it being Palindrome Week- where every day’s date reads the same forward and backward (today is 4/19/14 – give it a whirl!).

And then I thought of that long-ago AXAXA.

Annalise was tickled to know that she’d made something she hadn’t intended, so long ago, and that there’s a fancy name for what she made.

And so I wanted to share it with you, as just a bit of what our brand of learning looks and feels like, and how things can connect to other things, even across the seasons and years, making them new and wonderful again!

Have you ever seen an image or memory from your past in a new way? Do things in your life often connect in unexpected fashion? Do you remember when you began playing with letters and sounds, trying to make words of them? Did you know it was Palindrome Week? If so, did you mark it in any way?

I’d love to hear your stories and opinions! After all, Saturdays are for sharing!



  1. Palindrome Week?! I love it! (Though I do wonder: who gets to decide these things? Can we have a Mixed Metaphor Week? Or a Bad Hemingway Week?) Palindromes make me think of Barbara Kingsolver’s The Poisonwood Bible, with the character (Ava? Ada? Is that her name? It would be appropriate) who writes backwards and loves the new sense that comes from looking at words that way. (god becoming dog, etc) It also reminds me of John Green’s protagonist in An Abundance of Katherines, though I’ve forgotten his name too. For some brains, palindromes appear to tap into a different dimension of understanding. I think your daughter must have such a brain. I don’t, but I have enough of one to appreciate the connections that she’ll be able to make. Good post!

    • Gretchen,

      I think the Palindrome Week people must be related somehow to the Pi Day people…

      Maybe it’s a mathematical conspiracy?

      I haven’t read either of those, but they sound like interesting reads.

      When she was about four, my daughter could write forward with one hand, and backward with the other at the same time. I’m extremely left-handed, my husband and both kids are right-leaning ambidextrous. I don’t think she can do it anymore, but I can read and write backward easily, and I see words in my head, which I think she does, too, but my husband and son don’t.

      I still love the way the word AXAXA feels in my mouth, and I always see it in fresh kindling wood.

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