It is around this time of year that we are encouraged to consider the females that raised us, our mothers and grandmothers, and this picture book also has this slant to it, although interestingly set in Iran. And as an advocate of picture books, I find this delicately handles that relationship between grandmother and granddaughter but even more sensitively the acceptance of difference and the warmer, humane sides, we can often forget to display as beings.
The book centres around a young Iranian girl and her grandmother, their love and warmth, which has an idyllic family narrative, that transcends into other stories and other relationships. The book concludes, In this big universe full of many moons, I have travelled and seen many wonders, but I have never loved anything or anyone the way I love my grandma. This sums up what sits at the heart of this book, love and warmth, with a delicate approach to story format and illustration.
While Mina is growing up in Iran, the centre of her world is her grandmother. Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart… At once deeply personal and utterly universal, this story is a love letter of the rarest sort: a love letter that is universal to anyone that has a deep bond, connection to their gran.
Mina Javaherbin’s book is somewhat autobiographical, as she was brought up with her gran close by in Tehran, which is why it approaches the subject so lovingly. Lindsey Yankey is from an entirely different background, from rural Kansas, and a trademark style to her children’s picture books. Having already illustrated Bluebird and Sun and Moon, she is developing herself as a name in illustrating detailed and elaborate picture books.
Both have a knack for creating a stunningly loving story, through either words or pictures and combined, they have crafted something marvellous with an otherworldly viewpoint. Two storytellers to keep an eye out for I think.
Images courtesy of Walker Books, who have published My Grandma and Me by Mina Javaherbin and Lindsey Yankey.
My Grandma and Me was published on 7th March 2019 by Walker Books.