Author: Lane Smith
Illustrator: Lane Smith
Publisher: Roaring Book Press
Publication Date: August 2011
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: A young boy tells the story of his great grandfather’s life as he walks through his great grandfather’s topiary garden.
What I Think: This book made me all sentimental. I love grandparents. I grew up with my paternal grandparents living close and spent a lot of time with them. We saw them frequently and my grandma and grandpa were very special to me. My maternal grandfather died before I was born, but my maternal grandmother spent a lot of time with us when she was here visiting from Guatemala. My maternal grandmother, Mamita, as we call her, is still alive and living now in Guatemala. It meant so much to me that she was here for when both of my sons were born and got to meet both of them.
Now that I am a mom of two kids, grandparents are important in a different way. I love that my sons have their grandparents there for them. My parents help a lot with taking care of my kids and being there for them. The boys both love going to their house and being able to spend time with them.
I believe it is to important to know how life was for generations before us and to hear an older person tell about life when he or she was growing up. This book celebrates Grandpa Green’s life but it also respects Grandpa Green as an elderly person who sometimes can’t remember things any more. I love the idea of a book that shows how important our grand-people are and shows them respect. Obviously, we can show kids how to treat elderly people with respect, but this book reiterates what actions are showing and makes them more cognizant of how we need to respect the lives people have lived and understand if now they may not be able to remember.
In my attempt to improve my communication and involvement with families, I created a family interview to send home with kids. My interview focuses on questions the students can ask their parents or other family members about when they first realized the student had a hearing loss and what they did and how they felt. Obviously, this activity applies to my students, but I think developing some kind of focused interview with family members really tells a lot about their history. I remember being in 5th grade and having to interview my grandmother. It was interesting how many stories she told me just because I asked her when otherwise she might not have told the stories.
Having a celebration of grandparents would be fun or asking grandparents to come and read with the class. There is something magical about grandparents and they should be celebrated. I think this would be a great opportunity for kids who might not have grandparents to be able to spend time with elderly people even if they aren’t their own grandparents.
Read Together: Pre-K - 12
Read Alone: 3 - 12
Read With: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein, On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth
Snatch of Text: In fourth grade
he got chicken pox.*
*Not from chickens.
He had to stay home from school.
So he read stories about secret gardens
and wizards and a little engine that could.Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Autobiography, Biography, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write five questions you would like to ask your grandparent or elderly friend about his or her life when he or she was growing up. Write a personal narrative about your favorite memory of you and a grandparent or a parent from your childhood.
Topics Covered: Family, Aging, Life, Memories
Translated to Spanish: No
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