I thought I'd start with one of my favorites...I discovered Tomie DePaola from the Gladys Hunt book I mentioned in the previous post. His work caught my eye because he has written extensively about his childhood growing up in the 1930's and '40s and particularly about his relationships with his grandparents on both sides of his family. I had grandparents who were quite a bit older than your average grandparents, as well as a great aunt I spent all our holidays with, so as an only child I had lots of experiences around the elderly. I want my children to not fear them, but to welcome them and esteem them as they should. That's why my boys go to the assisted living center in town each Friday with their dad, who reads the Bible to the residents after breakfast.
DePaola's book, Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs, is about his grandmother who lived downstairs and his great grandmother who was bedridden upstairs and taken care of by her daughter. Tomie would go to visit each weekend when he was four and they would sit and talk and eat peppermints. The story deals with the death of an elderly loved one in such a tender way.
His book, Tom, is about his grandfather. Let's just suffice it to say chicken legs are involved in this story!
The book, Now One Foot, Now the Other is about a grandson and grandpa's special relationship. It's not a true story, but it could be for a lot of families who have a loved one suffering from a stroke.
DePaola has written and illustrated all of his stories, many based on his life experiences or his heritage, he is Irish and Italian. He has many books written about Irish and Italian folk tales, in addition to some from Mexico and the Native Americans.
He's written some books about his terriers, Moffie and Morgie, who go to kindergarten, have to deal with bullies and other kid crises.
Perhaps my favorite of his books is the 26 Fairmont Avenue series. These are chapter books, probably at a second grade reading level, that are based on his childhood, from about the time he was four through early elementary school. He has illustrated these just enough to keep beginning readers of chapter books interested.
My kids have loved all his stories, and we've been trying to build up our home library with quality literature like DePaola's.
Hope you'll check some out from your library!
Labels: children's literature