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A perfect marriage of story and art! This is a heartwarming story based on actual events. A village school in India is created for grandmothers to learn to read and write, and add and subtract. A granddaughter, early on in her own education, takes the lead to encourage and support her grandmother’s efforts at the Grandmother School.
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!
Pairs well with “The Oldest Student: How Mary Walker Learned to Read”. Children may not be aware of the efforts older generations have put in to learn things they were not taught. A good jumping off point for my own children, whose grandmother was not taught to read until she was married.