Whether visiting friends next door, going to the mosque for midnight prayers during Ramadan, or taking an imaginary trip around the planets, Mina and her grandma are never far apart...
At once deeply personal and utterly universal, this story is a love letter of the rarest sort: the kind that shares a bit of its warmth with every reader.
Reviewed by Rachel Elvidge
My Grandma and Me is a special book, celebrating the beautiful relationship between grandmas and granddaughters, which reaches across oceans.
Mina Javaherbin grew up with her grandmother, and in this book, she celebrates the closeness of their relationship. They have an incredibly loving bond, which is instantly recognisable. We can all identify with the little girl who ‘helps’ her grandmother by building rocket ships out of her clothes! As children relate to the familiar relationship, they also learn about Javaherbin’s Iranian background. She accompanies her grandmother to the mosque, observes Ramadan with her and climbs on her back as she prays. Their religion is an integral part of everyday life, but so is sewing, bread buying and hopscotch. Grandma’s kindness and morality are highlighted in the way she treats others, from her dear granddaughter to the poor man sleeping on the street.
The illustrations, by Lindsey Yankey, are detailed and delicate, reflecting Iranian culture through colour, pattern and tone.
On the last page, Javaherbin tells us that In this big universe, full of many moons… I’ve never loved anything or anyone the way I loved my grandma. The similarity of childhood experience across cultures is encapsulated here and brings a tear to the eye of anyone who has lost a beloved grandparent.
A super book with depth and power, My Grandma and Me would be enjoyed as a class read but make sure you can read it aloud without sniffling!