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Grandmother School Hardcover – Picture Book, May 5 2020
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Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write.
The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education―when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her.
Women in countless countries continue to endure the limitations of illiteracy. Unjust laws have suppressed the rights of girls and women and kept many from getting an education and equal standing in society. Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, this brilliantly illustrated book tells the story of the grandmothers who got to go to school for the first time in their lives.
“A moving story about family, women and the power of education―when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her.” ― Here Wee Read blog
“Joy is evident on the page―and infectious...A spirited book about gender, age, rights, and the importance of education.” ― Kirkus Reviews
“Gorgeous…Colors are crisp and contemporary…Provides a surprising angle to the growing body of children’s books about gender inequality and the continued work of pioneers like Aaji.” ― Booklist
"The connection between the little girl and the grandmother is the touching heart of this story." ― Canadian Children's Book News
“A wonderful and poignant story about the need for literacy and how vital learning to read is.” ― The Globe and Mail
- Publisher : Orca Book Publishers; Illustrated edition (May 5 2020)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 32 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1459819055
- ISBN-13 : 978-1459819054
- Item weight : 431 g
- Dimensions : 22.23 x 0.95 x 27.31 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #66,297 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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I like the spot on way the art incorporates the Marathi words learned by the grandmother, “words like cloud, sky, rain, mango, water, bird, hill, river.” And in similar fashion, the art shows the “warriors and birds, numbers and words” the granddaughter dreams of from times she’s spent with her grandmother.
Through these loving times and talk shared between grandmother and granddaughter, I found the book a great, and easily accessible, introduction to an aspect of Indian culture, as well as language, legends, and colorful clothing depicted in word and art.
It’s clearly the case that there’s a caring connection between two strong characters, the granddaughter and her grandmother, especially in contrast to when the grandfather says that his wife’s learning at her age “was a waste of time.” Both granddaughter and grandmother become meaningfully empowered through their shared learning.
This is a story that empowers a child, and will warm many a grandmother’s heart, especially if she has young grandchildren just learning to read. It should work well too for a read-aloud, along with a sharing of the beautiful, inspired illustrations. A perfect multicultural edition to any library!