Thursday, October 8, 2009

2nd Picnic Basket holds multicultural treasure

Grandfather's Story Cloth written by Linda Gerdner and Sarah Langford with illustrations by Stuart Longhridge is a very well-written tale of family bonds that hold us together no matter our cultural.

Grandfather lives with Chershong and his family in the United States. Chershong hurries home one day to share his 3rd grade art project with him only to find Grandfather out in the yard, gathering wood to build a fire not remembering the gas stove they use to cook. Chershong's frustration grows and his mother shares Grandfather's story cloth. Chershong is amazed to see the life his grandfather had in Laos all depicted in stitched pictures. He and Grandfather pour over the cloth as his grandfather tells stories from his past.

The story is very well-developed and easy for readers to understand that Grandfather is suffering from Alzheimer's disease and cannot remember where he is. Sometimes books like this tend to be so didactic they become textbook-like but this one is very a very enjoyable read. I can image classrooms creating story cloths of their own to connect with Grandfather. The illustrations, while dark, set a simple tone for the text and the end papers show traditional Hmong artwork. Highly Recommended.

A Picnic-Basket selection from Shen's Books.