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Thursday, July 11, 2019

My Grandma and Me, written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Lindsey Yankey. Candlewick Press, Penguin Random House. 2019. $22.99 ages 4 and up

"We sent our baskets down
with ropes, the bread boy
placed the bread inside, and
then we hauled them up.
My grandma's basket was
so big, I could fit inside it.
I would sit in that basket
and pretend to be flying
my own plane.

My doll played, too."

In this loving tribute, the author shares stories of growing up in a house her family shared with her grandmother. Their life in Iran before the war was idyllic, the young child following in her grandma's footsteps throughout the day. They swept and cooked together, and then prayed as well. They began with prayers at dawn, a time much appreciated by both.

"Because only the two of us were up at that time,
and no one was there to stop me, I could climb
up and lie on her back while she prayed.
My grandma never told me to stop or broke out
of her prayers."

Gentle and kind, she provided her granddaughter with a shining example whether it was for getting bread, sharing it with neighbors, or being a good and faithful friend. As two young friends spent time together enjoying childhood pursuits, their grandmothers spent time knitting together, chatting, having coffee, and practicing their separate Muslim and Christian religions.

The artwork gently incorporates the many details of life in Iran, and in both households. Young readers will gain an awareness of the customs of an Iranian household, and see the similarities the two families share, including the grandmothers' prayers for each other.

Warm and lovely, this memoir of special times spent with a much loved grandmother is a joy to share.

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