12 floors above the earth - title

JoAnne and Sister
JoAnne (left) and her sister Geanne
Photo: Sunni Bolton

What an inspiring, heart-breaking, and heart-strengthening book this is! JoAnne Taylor's Knit Together is also a page-turner, as we follow the author’s attempts to locate and learn to know the sister from whom she was separated at the age of two. About the book, Tilden Edwards has said, “JoAnne Taylor has given us a heartwarming and illuminating story of her remarkable life. I have learned much from her about the powerful effects of beginning life in an orphanage, losing contact with a sister left behind there, and growing up as an adopted child in an earlier era of strict discipline and low regard for women. She has sensitized me to the orphan’s fear of abandonment. At the same time I am heartened by the amazing rediscovery of her sister late in life, their incredible closeness for seven years, and the strong blending together of their families that has survived the sad early loss of her sister to cancer. I am also moved by the grace of her realization that she has been loved by God from the beginning, a realization putting to rest her doubts caused by traumas early in life.

Front cover drawing by Claire McCracken
Even though I don’t share her unusual background, many times while reading her book, I found myself recalling my own family history, its difficulties and gifts. The way JoAnne Taylor has woven together the tangled strands of her family life and discovered a pattern of blessed mutual belonging has helped me to see the blessedness woven into my own family history.”

JoAnne Taylor has been a spiritual director for twenty-six years. She is a graduate of the Shalem Institute for Spiritual Formation and has a masters degree in Religious Studies from Hartford Seminary. Her first book was Innocent Wisdom: Children as Spiritual Guides. She lives in Bloomfield, Connecticut with her husband of sixty years. They have five children and eleven grandchildren.

Click here to read a sample from the book.

Click here to view upcoming events.

Click here to read additional material relevant to the book.


ISBN 978-1-936482-38-2

Copyright © 2012 by JoAnne Taylor

6" x 9" paperback, 178 pages






Sometime in the spring of 1944 I am with my adoptive mother in the dining room of our first floor flat on Salt Springs Road in Syracuse, New York.
The question that I’ve carried in my heart and in my very bones for twelve years bubbles to the surface, and I ask it for the first time. “Mom, why didn’t you adopt my sister when you adopted me?” She replied with great moral certitude, “But she had tantrums and we couldn’t have that!”
Immediately an image formed in my mind of a frightened, trembling, isolated figure crouching in a corner. Was it my sister? Was she still in the Williamsville Home for Children screaming her wits out? Or was I the terrorized figure in the shadows? I cannot imagine what gave me the courage to broach the question in the first place; what I know is that her answer slammed me into the corner with the sad truth that there were strings attached to my adoption. Any edgy, angry parts of me were not acceptable in spite of the fact that I was chosen. As well, I was still prisoner to the guilt and anguish from having left my sister behind. I knew the conversation was finished and I never asked her again.

Return to the top of the page