Grandmother's Visit
Grandmother's Visit

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Annotation: Grace loves Grandmother, who lives with the family. Then Grandmother dies. After the funeral, Grace's mom follows Chinese tradition, turning on all the outside lights so Grandmother's spirit can find its way home for one final goodbye.
Catalog Number: #182086
Format: Perma-Bound Edition from Publisher's Hardcover
All Formats: Search
Publisher: Groundwood Books
Copyright Date: 2018
Edition Date: 2018
Illustrator: Mok, Carmen,
Pages: 32
Availability: Available
ISBN: Publisher: 1-554-98954-X Perma-Bound: 0-7804-4422-1
ISBN 13: Publisher: 978-1-554-98954-6 Perma-Bound: 978-0-7804-4422-5
Dewey: E
Dimensions: 25 cm.
Language: English
Horn Book
In brief, poignant text, a young girl recalls specific items and moments as she makes peace with the passing of her beloved grandmother, who used to tell stories of her childhood in China. There are lots of books about the passing of a grandparent, but this one stands out for its authentic culturally-specific elements, both textual and visual. Soft, comforting digital paintings illustrate the gentle intergenerational story.
Kirkus Reviews
Every morning, Grandmother says goodbye to a little girl after they walk to school—until one day, Grandmother says her final goodbye.The book's unnamed girl spends idyllic days with her grandmother from China, learning how to measure water for rice, listening to stories about China long ago, and eating pickled plums. Digital paintings in a muted palette of grays, pinks, and greens convey their quiet relationship. One day, Grandmother stops walking the girl to school and a sadness falls upon the household. Then, abruptly, Grandmother's room is empty, and "A few days later, my grandmother is buried." That night, the family follows a Chinese tradition to welcome their loved one's spirit home for a final goodbye. Quan's simple portrayal of a loving intergenerational bond draws readers in emotionally, but it lacks important details. Has the grandmother been living with the family for a long time, or was it, as the title suggests, a visit? It is unclear whether or not Grandmother fell ill, if she had dementia (she sometimes forgot her house keys), or how much time has passed between each scene. While the book is a sensitive portrayal of the death of a loved one, including an ending with closure, the story lacks contextual details, resulting in more questions.This sweet and gentle story about losing a loved one is emotionally lovely but likely to require some interpretation on the parts of caregivers. (Picture book. 4-8)
School Library Journal
K-Gr 3 This moving tale of love and loss features the special bond between a young girl and her Chinese grandmother. In a gentle first-person narrative, the child explains how her grandmother teaches her the secrets of making rice and shares stories about growing up in China. Grandmother walks the young narrator to and from school each day, until one day, her father takes over. After that, Grandmother's bedroom door stays closed, until one day, only her jade bracelet, photo album, blue jacket, and house keys are left, and Grandmother is no longer there. After her grandmother's funeral, the girl's mother turns on all the outside lights of their house so that Grandmother's spirit can find its way home for one final goodbye. Soft, digitally painted illustrations complement and add to this poignant story, which together capture the comfort of closure, tradition, and memory. VERDICT This is a wistful, tender story recommended for children who are confronting the loss or imminent loss of a loved one. A welcome addition to collections needing books on death and grief. Brianne Colombo, Fairfield Free Public Library, NJ
Reviewing Agencies: - Find Other Reviewed Titles
Horn Book
Kirkus Reviews
School Library Journal (8/1/18)
Reading Level: 2.0
Interest Level: K-3

Asian/Pacific American Awards for Literature Picture Book Honor Title Grandmother lives with Grace's family. She teaches her how to measure water for rice. She tells her stories about growing up in China and together they savor the flavors of her childhood. Grandmother says goodbye when she drops Grace off at school every morning and hello when she picks her up at the end of the day. Then, Grandmother stops walking Grace to and from school, and the door to her room stays closed. Father comes home early to make dinner, but the rice bowls stay full. One day, Grandmother's room is empty. And one day, Grandmother is buried. After the funeral, Grace's mom turns on all the outside lights so that Grandmother's spirit can find its way home for one final goodbye. Carmen Mok's gentle illustrations show the love between a child and her grandmother in this story that will resonate with anyone who has lost a loved one. Betty Quan's picture-book debut is haunting yet hopeful.

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