Tuesday, October 14, 2014

My two great- grandmothers

Author & Illustrator  : Lisa Aisato N'jie Solberg
Translator:  Espen Stranger Johannessen
Publisher: Pratham Books
Ages: 6 years and above
Great Grandmas are rare to come by and who would not cherish the feisty and loving kind?
This Pratham Books story revolves around a charming and perceptive young girl, the product of an inter-racial marriage. She has two great-grandmothers from two very different worlds. While she has never seen the paternal one who lives in Gambia, she is fortunate to meet the Norwegian great-grandmother occasionally.
The grand old ladies build and enjoy a rapport with their little great grand child. While one sings and narrates old tales, the other manages to connect over the phone, despite a language barrier.
As with aged people, the child sees them turn frail and fragile and finally pass away. 
The warm tale ends with a lovely vision of the two ladies meeting and chatting in the next world sharing stories of their youth, bound by the love of the ocean and of course the little girl.
The book works at two levels:
1. It celebrates mutli cultural differences and ageless relationships. 
2. Old age and death are difficult to explain to little kids, but this story can come in useful in such discussions and that too, in a non-tragic way.
Kids over six years should find they can read the book confidently, but the poetry in the relationships shared, can  be enjoyed across ages.
The art is full of soul and makes you feel you have met the characters.
Do take a look at some more of the illustrator's work- here.


Choxbox said...

Looks lovely!

Sheela said...

Thanks, Art! I loved the parts that were honest without sugar-coating - two very different ladies who've been through a lot in life - where the Norwegian grandmother watches boxing on TV and smokes can seem quite unreal for some kids; the halting yet excited phone conversation with the Gambian grandma where the dad translates a bit is so familiar for some kids in multi-cultural families...

Praba Ram said...

What a great story! Gorgeously illustrated. So much of energy in the art. Thanks, Art for bringing this to us!

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