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My Grandma and Me

Lindsey Yankey
Candlewick Press
2019
ISBN-10/ISBN-13:
0763694940 / 9780763694944

“In this big universe full of many moons, I have traveled and seen many wonders, but I have never loved anything or anyone the way I love my grandma.”

In a true tale of a young girl in Iran and her grandmother, this beautiful ode to family celebrates small moments of love that become lifelong memories.

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Love, childhood adventures, religion, and tradition are the centerpieces of this book about the author and her late grandmother, with whom she grew up in the same household in pre-revolutionary Iran.

The narrator joins her grandmother, whom she loves dearly, in everything as she goes about her day. When grandma sweeps, she does too; when grandma wakes up for prayer at dawn, she does too; and when grandma sews herself a chador, she helps, even if nominally. The delicately lined illustrations gracefully evince both the mundane and the magic in the details of the narrator’s everyday life as a child: the boy delivering towers of bread on his bike; Ramadan meals with her grandma, both at home and at the mosque; and playtime with her friend Annette while both of their grandmothers chat, knit blankets, and drink coffee. This sweet story is intermingled naturally with details about Iranian and Islamic traditions and values and supported by such visuals as an easy mix of traditional and Western attire and thoughtful inclusion of Persian design elements. It peaks in a moment of solidarity between the two grandmothers, each praying for the other to go to heaven, but via their different Muslim and Christian religions: a poignant, inclusive note. In its celebration of specific manifestations of universal love, this is highly recommended for families and educators, Muslim and non- alike, looking to teach children about Islam.

A deep and beautiful book modeling grandmothers as heroines.

—KIRKUS STARRED REVIEW

Grandparents can have an enormous effect on their grandchildren and books that showcase such relationships are always welcome. The Iranian grandmother here has endless patience and love for her little granddaughter. When Grandma swept, the child swept; when Grandma prayed, the girl prayed; and when Grandma cooked, her granddaughter did as well. She follows her around daily, mirroring everything she does. The love and kindness the child receives is satisfying and speaks to the bond between the two characters. Some of their interactions are specific to their culture, such as fasting during Ramadan and donning their chadors and walking together to the mosque. The illustrations are created using a soft, inviting palette that incorporates tile and rug patterns particular to Iran. This book offers both windows and mirrors into a warm and loving familial relationship and will be appreciated by a wide range of young readers.

VERDICT A lovely book for anyone looking for intergenerational stories for one-on-one or group sharing.

—SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL STARRED REVIEW


Yankey’s mixed-media illustrations will transport readers to an idyllic twentieth-century Iran, recalling the style of Persian art, with dusty, muted colors and intricately patterned rugs…While this book presents a relationship in a specific cultural context, a subtle message of interreligious peace and unity shines through, supported by the memories’ emotional universality, through which young readers will learn empathy and cultural understanding.
—BOOKLIST