I absolutely love that this 32 page picture book for children five and up breaks so many stereotypes and highlights so many commonalities between all people, everywhere. I strongly believe that books like this, can change people’s perspective, and as a children’s books can prevent negative biases from forming in the first place.
Set in Iran, a little girl absolutely loves and adores her grandma. They pray together, they buy bread together and they share that bread with their best friends, their Christian neighbors next door. While the little girl and her friend Annette play, the two grandmas chat, drink coffee and knit blankets to donate to the mosque and Annette’s Grandma’s church.
Grandma sews chadors to wear, and Mina helps. But, mostly she uses the scarves to make rocket ship forts, and capes to fly to outer space in. When she returns to base camp grandma has cookies for her and wants to hear about her adventures.
In Ramadan, the little girl wakes up early to eat with grandma even though she is too young too fast. When she gets older, they go to the mosque together at night too, after they have broken their fast.
One time she hears her grandma praying for Annette’s grandma to go to heaven. The next day Annette tells Mina she heard her grandma praying at church for her grandma to go to heaven. The little girl imagines the two grandmas knitting and laughing together in heaven, on Mars, on Earth, anywhere.
The book ends with the little girl stating past tense how wonderful her grandma was and that she still wants to be like her.
The book touches on family, interfaith, love, helping others, faith, religion, friendship, culture, and is just really really sweet. I wish I loved the pictures, as much as I love the story, but I don’t. I think I like most of them with their texture and details, unfortunately the faces in some just seem a little off to me.
I absolutely love that there is no over explaining, and no glossary, the author seamlessly brings words like namaz, and Ramadan and chador in to the story, normalizing them as the pretend play, and familial bonds are so universal.