“Abuela”by Arthur Dorros

 

As the title indicates, we are not done talking and reading about grandmas. For a lot can be said and written about grandmas, indeed. Just look at the very number of ways we can name them. Grandma, Grannie, Baba, Babcia (my grandmother), or Abuela, as Arthur Dorros chose to call her.

 

Abuela came from Mexico, speaks Spanish and… has a very wild imagination. She takes her granddaughter for a bus ride around the NYC. They go to the park, where, inspired by birds, they wonder what it would be like to fly like a ‘pajaro’. They would soar over the streets, wave to the people on bus stops and say ‘Buenos dias’, glide close to the sea… They would see the Statue of Liberty, which would bring Abuela back to the day, when she came to this country. Suddenly Abuela and the girl are back in the park, ready for another, more real adventure: a boat ride.

 

 

Isn’t Abuela representative of so many grandmas who came to this country as immigrants and started a new life here? It wasn’t always easy for them to cherish their traditions and keep ties to their roots. But thanks those grandmas from Mexico, Italy, Ireland, China and other countries, who managed to do so,  this country is so unique and so… colorful? As colorful as the pictures by Elisa Kleven. So vivid, and folkloric, like patches of the quilt. A great background for this poetic story.

But the book is more than a lyrical tale about foreign roots and different cultures. It is also about two languages. Written in English and Spanish, this book is a clever and most appealing way to learn Abuela’s language.

 

 

 

 

“Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake” by Kate Klise and M. Sarah Klise

 

 

I hope everyone had a good Thanksgiving dinner, great Black Friday deals, or an exciting football marathon- whatever you were looking for in this holiday weekend. For many of us, Thanksgiving is about getting together with the family. The more the merrier. After all, you need a big crew (of non-vegetarians)  to eat the whole bird, right? And that’s why, regardless of how crowded the roads and airports are, we still go to see our relatives, or they come to visit us.

 

Although today’s post and book are not about Thanksgiving, they are about visiting. More precisely, visiting by grandmas. From my experience, grandmas who live far away, have it harder to bond with her grandchildren, than a grandma from the house next door. Perhaps I shouldn’t generalize, and I don’t mean to sound cruel, but little children naturally follow the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ rule. So, what should  a grandma who doesn’t get to see her grandchildren often do, in order to keep the spark between her and her grandchildren?

 

Grammy Lamby had a bright idea. She invented a secret handshake. When she came to visit her grandson Larry, she squeezed his hand three times. Three squeezes meant three words: “I love you”. Larry didn’t warm up to this idea immediately, though. She found grandma odd, if not embarrassing. Grammy Lamby had to prove herself and her time to do so came… with a storm. When Larry saw how fearless his Grammy was, how hard she worked to help repair the damage the storm caused to the house and town, and what a good story-teller she was to boot, Larry gave his Grammy a chance. She was no longer odd. She was a great companion, if not a hero! Did Larry eventually take to the secret handshake idea?  Even better. He invented his own squeeze code, that only him and his Grammy understood. 

“Grammy Lamby and the Secret Handshake” is a wonderful celebration of a unique bond, that can develop between grandmas and their grandchildren. It takes a little creativity, a little trick, and quite some patience, but once grandmas find out what drives their little guys, they won’t have to wait long to win over the little hearts. And isn’t it worth it!