My Grandson Lew
Charlotte Zolotow ~ William Pène du Bois ~ Harper & Row, 1974
While we're on Charlotte Zolotow, I have the perfect book for anyone who ever loved and lost someone dear. Not surprisingly, this was produced under Ursula Nordstrom's imprint way back when. She had a knack for publishing books filled with especially true emotion. Illustrated by the always wonderful Du Bois, we meet Lew who awakens one night, calls for his mother and begins to tell her of his grandfather...
I miss grandpa, Lewis said.
You miss him! said Lew's mother.
You were two when he died.
Now you're six
and you never asked for him before.
I think about him though, said Lew.
I remember him.
He had a beard
and it scratched when he kissed me.
What else, asked his mother,
what else do you remember?
I remember how his beard scratched
but I remember his eyes more.
He gave me eye-hugs
nights like this
when I woke up
Now, if you're a sucker like me, you'll cry reading this entire thing. My son loves it when I cry during books as it gives him a chance to snatch a tear off my cheek for culinary purposes. What can I say? The boy loves salt. But anyways, yes! You'll be weeping up a storm by the time you reach the last page, adrift in all sorts of memories about being a child and the grownups you loved along the way.
What I find particularly endearing about this book is the fact that the story is about a boy and his mother sharing memories about a father/grandfather who has passed away, but the title is called My Grandson Lew... almost as if the story and memories are a direct gift from the grandfather. Though the title is a reference to something the grandfather said once... still, it's like in some magical way, he is reaching through the years, celebrating the love he left behind.
A quiet, powerful story.
Meant to be read to and with someone who owns your heart.
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The Hating Book
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The Sky Was Blue
a rose, a bridge, and a wild black horse
When I Have a Little Girl
The Runaway Flying Horse
Otto in Texas
The Light Princess
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