Happy International Literacy Day! Lately, during our department meetings we’ve been listing off the various celebratory designations for each day of the upcoming week. Some causes with a special day are unusual or just for fun. Our coworker Anna is getting married on September 19th, which is Talk like a Pirate Day. But she tells us it won’t affect how she says her vows. While other designations, such as today’s (9/8/15) International Literacy Day seems more worthy of raising awareness. Another day worth commemorating is this Sunday’s (9/13/15) National Grandparents Day. So in honor of both literacy and grandparents, here’s a list of new and favorite books with grandparents featured in multi-generational relationships.
Granddaddy’s Turn : A Journey to the Ballet Box by Michael S. Bandy, illustrated by Eric Stein. 9780763665937. 2015. Gr. 1-4.
Despite its historical time frame this story seems as applicable today touching on many current topics as literacy, voting rights, and black lives matter. As a young boy, Michael accompanies his grandfather to cast his first vote, only to watch his grandfather be turned away. Years later as Michael casts his first vote, he remembers his grandfather and what previous generations endured to make this possible for him today. The watercolor illustrations are a perfect complement to the story by capturing the time, place, as well as the emotional connection between the two family members.
My Name is Aviva by Leslea Newman, illustrated by Ag Jatkowska. 9781467726566. 10/2015. Gr. PS-2.
There was a time when my daughter Natalie didn’t like her name and wanted us to call her Jessica. But I don’t think she had it as hard as Aviva did in this story.
Aviva’s classmates had all sorts of nicknames for her and she suffered endless teasing until she finally decided to change her name to Emily. Her mother was good at accommodating “Emily” while at the same time introducing her to stories of her great-grandmother Ada. Through these stories Aviva learns how much her mother loved and appreciated all the things her grandma Ada taught her, as well as all the positive characteristics Ada possessed. The young Aviva also learns Ada’s Hebrew name was Aviva. Knowing it is a Jewish tradition to be named after a beloved family member gives Aviva greater understand and appreciation of her given name.
Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg Medina, illustrated by Angela Dominguez. 9780763669003. 2015. Gr. K-3. Available in Spanish too.
A Spanish speaking grandmother has to leave her far away country home to share a bedroom with Mia, her English speaking granddaughter in a small, city apartment. The grandmother has a difficult time adjusting to her new life because of her limited English and Mia feels sad that she can’t share the events of her day with her abuela since Mia can’t speak Spanish. With Mia’s parents often at work, Mia and Abuela spend much of their time together and eventually communicate while making empanadas, each calling out the ingredients in their own language. While both family members benefit from having a new roommate, this is more a story about the granddaughter helping her grandma adjust to her new life in the city.
Emperor of Any Place by Tim Wynne-Jones. 9780763669737. 10/2015. Gr. 9-12.
Evan, a Canadian high school student meets his WW II veteran grandfather for the first time after the death of his father, a Vietnam War draft dodger. While Evan struggles with his grief, a second story unfolds when Evan finds a journal in his father’s possessions. The journal tells a survival story of WWII soldiers in the south pacific. Evan tries to make sense of it all as well as understand the relationship between his father and grandfather.
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley. 9780525428435. 2015. Gr. 4-6.
I mentioned Circus Mirandus before in my circus blog post and it is worth mention again here with its strong grandfather and grandson relationship. This is a great book for middle school fantasy fans.
Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher. 9781554984350. 2014. Gr. PS-2.
Lastly, I have to mention one of my favorite books from last year. Mr. Frank is a retiring tailor, who’s made a variety of clothing over the decades. But on retirement he makes superhero costumes for his grandson. I just love how the author/illustrator’s wonder mixed-media collages provide additional details about the close grandfather/ grandson.