Sometimes our trips to the library or bookstore can be exercises in frustration. It can often seem that anyone that can hold a pen can get a children's book published, or it's all about cartoon franchising. There are, however, still children's books out there that are lovely - beautiful or interesting artwork, with a worthwhile and thoughtfully told story. We've recently hit upon a few that were particularly pleasant because they told stories of older generations in a way that was charming, humble and totally without disrespect or making adults seem stupid. Here are some of our favorites:
A Time to Keep by Tasha Tudor - "What was it like when Mummy was me?" This is more of a book of the rhythms of the year than of particular holidays, and makes me wish I lived back then. The artwork of Tasha Tudor is delightful, making you content to study each page long enough that your child will get impatient with you.
My Mother's Pearls by Catherine Fruisen - A chance grab from the library, this sweet story follows the connection that an heirloom string of pearls brings to seven generations of women. I so remember looking at my mom's jewelry and wondering who else wore it and the story behind it!
Grandpa Green by Lane Smith - Just the idea that a rich life, well-lived but poorly remembered, as the years wear on, can still be celebrated by a young boy is so touching. The fact that it's done through a common love of gardening is even better.
Miss Bridie Chose a Shovel by Leslie Connor - Following the life of a typical young woman as she sets off on her own is interesting enough, but to see the part that an insignificant choice played - the choice of a shovel over a figurine or candlesticks - gives a wonderful platform on which to see how life was once lived.
The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco - One more "heirloom" book - it seems having a thing that ties us to the past can also tell a good story. This time, it's a quilt, one that tells the story of a family over the generations and how they adapted to make a home in a new country.