Sunday, September 8, 2019

Celebrating Grandparents Day

Hurrah, it's a day for celebrating. Happy Grandparent's Day!

I have a heap of books to share this day, all newly published, all thanks to Candlewick Press! 

            There may be important moments in one's life, high school and/or college graduations, getting one's driver's license, first job, perhaps marriage, and on. After becoming a parent which is on a list all its own of best things comes becoming a grandparent. That is the phase I'm in in my life. It is a special, special thing. I also must say that my own memories of being with grandparents are wonderful, too. (I had good mentors!)

My three grandchildren in a scene at the beach t
his past June. Yikes!
Is that a sea monster about to attack?

            In bright and friendly watercolor and collage, Joowon Oh creates a loving picture book about one special day a week when Papa welcomes his granddaughter for her weekly visit. Deliberately going to bed early to prepare, stopping by an arts and craft store for supplies, plus two orders of dumplings to go, he is ready for that "run-for-a-hug" seen on the book's cover. My granddaughters live near and each has a special "grandma" day with me and like this story, I prepare according to specific "likes". It only takes a few words and a satisfying play to show the love the two in this story have for each other. Papa says: "I got us some dumplings for lunch." His granddaughter says, "Yay! I love dumplings!" And so their time goes, eating and creating and playing together, a "grandparent" kind of day!

       Henry wants to play yet his Grandpa keeps gardening, seems not to hear when Henry asks questions in this story by Wendy Meddour. His mother says "Give him time" and we readers realize that something is not quite the same anymore. A favorite game is sharing favorite "top threes" which Grandpa finally answers with his top three sandwiches after Henry shares his own. Sweet Henry runs off to make Grandpa's favorites, pulling Grandpa into their special "game", which later includes "top three jellyfish" while eating those sandwiches at the pond. The story's heart is revealed when Henry asks about Grandpa's top three grannies. Grandpa answers with love as we realize his favorite granny is gone. While this may be a surprise to children reading, it is a way to talk about grieving and ways that might help when finally, finally we talk about missing loved ones. Soft watercolors by Daniel Egneus include the varied emotions of the story as Henry and his Grandpa smile over their 'top threes', even when they speak of those grannies. 

         In every culture, grandmas and grandchildren share a very special bond. This time Mina Javaherbin lets a young girl share all the wonderful things she shares with her grandma, up early for prayers, going to the Mosque together, playing under a table draped with all her grandma's chadors, and visiting best friends that include one for both. The mix of Iranian and Islamic traditions of the grandma and the Christian traditions of her best friend show the loving ways that connect all of us. It is full of things in this culture that connect to all cultures, eating, playing and praying together. Lindsey Yankey's weaving of parts of Iranian culture in her illustrations adds to the story, but the love between the grandmother and granddaughter is universal. There is a sweet note at the back from the author.

          You will recognize this cumulative tale, made new by Melanie Heuiser Hill through sharing the diversity included in all the ways families and neighbors share the bounty "around the table that Granddad built". Not only do they share the glasses from Mom's and Dad's wedding, but the silverware from Dad's grandma and the napkins sewn by Mom. The tale diverts from the continuing tale when food is introduced, a wonderful variety of food that is set on that table. There's garden squash and 'beans, overflowing', to 'toasty tamales' and rice pudding. There are the pies, too, of course. It's a delightful gathering full of happiness shown with Jaime Kim's child-like acrylic and crayon drawings.

                 Perhaps we all have a "yesterday" we would love to return to. Alison Jay's story starts at the beginning with this boy who tells his wishes and uses as many scientific ideas as possible to time travel back to "yesterday" which in his mind was "the best day". He calculates the speeds he must travel, tries to find a 'super hypersonic rocket' or a black hole, but with no luck. Jay's illustrations show ice cream and kite-flying, plus whimsically exaggerated pictures of dinosaur and airplane rides along with a magical merry-go-round. Granddad and a dog are along for that wonderful day. Granddad is asked for help, but instead he shows this boy that there are many beautiful memories of "yesterday". They look through a scrapbook and gorgeous pages of some of his memories like 'dancing by moonlight with the love of his life', or climbing high "to the top of a snow-capped mountain".  The best thing, however, Granddad says, is that every day can be filled with a new adventure, making today a best day. It's a wonderful book to share with children to consider the good things about being present, right now, today!



  1. Happy Grandparents' Day! I am spending it with my newest grandson!

    1. Very special! I am so happy for you! Thanks, Margaret!

  2. What a great way to celebrate Grandparents Day!


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