Saturday, May 4, 2013

Review: Stones for Grandpa, by Renee Londner and Martha Aviles

A coalition of local librarians is holding a program on diversity in libraries at our library today, (did I say the word 'library' enough?) and this little gem is one of the books I chose for our part of the display:
Stones for Grandpa
One of the many positives of reading about a diverse group of people, is learning about sweet customs such as this. A year after the death of his grandfather, this young boy travels to the gravesite with his family, to observe two Jewish customs: the unveiling of his tombstone, and loved ones adding stones that represent special memories or places from his grandfather's life.
Death is always a difficult (but, all too often, necessary) subject to approach with young children, and this book does it well. Families from any faith will appreciate the gentle way Londner addresses the different feelings associated, while providing both words and actions that may offer comfort. While you feel the boy's sadness (and that of other characters), it is not a sad book, and may be enjoyed even by children who have not lost a loved one (just be prepared for the questions that will inevitably arise!) This is going to go to the top of my recommended reading list for the subject.

My only note is that I would have appreciated an author's note explaining the symbolism/purpose behind both customs. Thank-you to Kar-Ben Publishing for the review copy!

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