Review of Grandma Remembers Series

51hwcfica-l-_aa160_In Grandma Esther Remembers, Esther tells her granddaughters Pamela and Allison about growing up in Lithuania as the daughter of a rabbi and living in a ghetto during World War II. Esther and the girls observe Hanukkah and Sabbath together. The book contains the lyrics to a Yiddish lullaby with English translation and a recipe for tzimmes, a carrot and sweet potato dish.

51fn9hy1tcl-_aa160_Grandma Francisca Remembers highlights the relationship between Francisca and her granddaughter Angelica. Francisca tells how she worked as a child instead of going to school. She recalls how her family celebrated Three Kings Day. Francisca and Angelica cook stew and tortillas together. At night, they pray to the Virgin Mary and Father God. The book contains instructions to make a sock doll and a recipe for calabacitas, a vegetable stew.

51jwxr8mx6l-_aa160_In Grandma Hekmatt Remembers, we meet Hekmatt and her granddaughters Suzanne, Yasmine, and Sarah. Hekmatt teaches them Arabic and reminisces about growing up in Cairo. She bakes kahek cookies with the girls. They go to the mosque and observe Ramadan together. This volume contains instructions for folding paper boats.

51geyd8ebml-_aa160_Grandma Lai Goon Remembers introduces Lai Good and her grandchildren Allyson and Daniel. She cares for the children before and after school. Lai Goon tells the children about her childhood in a small Chinese village, work in a rice paddy, and her short time in school at the age of seventeen. She demonstrates Chinese calligraphy. The book contains instructions for making Chinese dolls and playing a pebble game similar to jacks. It shows them cooking bow (Chinese buns) and provides a recipe.

518w5c8f9tl-_aa160_Grandma Lois Remembers focuses on Lois and her grandson Erick but also mentions Erick’s older brother and sister as well as extended family members. Lois reads the Bible aloud to the whole family and tells stories of growing up in Birmingham, Alabama, during segregation. She plays checkers with Erick. The book contains the words to “Amazing Grace” and a recipe for sweet potato pie.

51y059m6hkl-_aa160_In Grandma Maxine Remembers, we learn about Maxine and her granddaughter Shawnee, who belong to the Shoshone tribe. Maxine talks about the two-room schoolhouse she attended as a child. She tells about games the children played on the reservation. Together they look at ceremonial tepees and make fry bread. A recipe is included, as well as instructions for making “God’s Eyes.” Maxine explains that the Shoshone people believe God’s Eyes bring good luck.

31vjh5bp3dl-_aa160_Grandma Susan Remembers shows the relationship between Susan and her grandchildren Gordon, Sarah, and Susan. She takes them to the library and shows them how she sews teddy bears. She tells them how her father built boats. They visit Cranberry Island, where Susan grew up, and visit lighthouses. This volume contains instructions for having a teddy bear party and baking blueberry pie.

Some of the photographs throughout the series are blurry. But there are a lot of features that make this series a worthwhile investment. Large-print sentences on each spread allow you to read the most pertinent parts to restless children. As their attention span lengthens, you can read the rest of the text. Many of the large-print sentences are also simple enough for beginning readers if you want to try team reading. The activities and recipes provide easy ways for preschoolers and early elementary students to further engage with the material. Each volume also contains the same page at the end that suggests ways a child can uncover his or her own family history.

Books mention religious and historical issues without casting judgment. The Grandma Remembers series offers a fair and accessible introduction to some of the heritages that can be found in American culture.

Publication Information

Grandma Esther Remembers: A Jewish-American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 076132318X. 32pp.

Grandma Francisca Remembers: A Hispanic-American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 0761323155. 32pp.

Grandma Hekmatt Remembers: An Arab-American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2003. ISBN 0761328645. 32pp.

Grandma Lai Goon Remembers: A Chinese-American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 0761323147. 32pp.

Grandma Lois Remembers: An African-American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 0761323163. 32pp.

Grandma Maxine Remembers: A Native American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 0761323171. 32pp.

Grandma Susan Remembers: A British-American Family Story/Ann Morris; photographs and illustrations by Peter Linenthal. Brookfield, CT: The Millbrook Press, 2002. ISBN 0761323198. 32pp.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post, and I have no material connection to the products mentioned.

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