In honor of grandparents and special friends day tomorrow I thought I would share some wonderful picture books that show the special bond grandparents and grandchildren have. I love talking to my own grandma and listening to her stories and family history. Sometimes all we can do is guess about the generations that came before us. What is important is the strengths and weaknesses that were passed down to my grandma, my mom and now me. The same is true in Betsy Hearne’s book Seven Brave Women. The story celebrates the brave women in the author’s family and how they shaped the world around them. The book views American history through the stories of the first generations of American women to the present. The author takes a different approach from the traditional markings of time with war. She points out that each woman made an impact in their world through peaceful means and passes valuable lessons down to each new generation. This book is an inspiration to all girls who value the tales of their grandmothers.
Another book that celebrates the past is Karen Ackerman’s Song and Dance Man. This is the story of on lively grandpa who once performed on the vaudeville stage. The colored pencil drawings light up the book as the lights of Broadway give life to the stage. Grandpa performs for his grandchildren by taping, singing and telling jokes. The children are thoroughly entertained and delighted to see their grandfather as the man he once was. Yet, the author makes a point to show that no matter how old Grandpa is now and may long to be young again he loves and values the time spent with his grandchildren.
Abuela’s Weave by Omar S. Castaneda is a story about Esperanza and her Abuela who work endlessly to create traditional Guatemalan textiles to sell at market. This is a touching story that expresses the importance of family pride. Esperanza experiences fear that people won’t accept the beautiful handy work that is so important to her Abuela. Slowly Esperanza grows and changes becoming strong just like her Abuela.
Of course not all our stories are happy with grandparents who lived long lives and passed down their history and tradition. The Wall by Eve Bunting is a beautifully told tale of a boy and his father searching for his grandfathers name on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. While the boy watches the people around him come and look at the wall for various reasons the father searches for grandfathers name. Once found they take a pencil rubbed print of the name and leave a picture of the boy. Finally the boy expresses his wish that he had known his grandfather. This book is a beautiful tribute to Vietnam and also to families who have lost loved ones.