I’m thrilled to have author Andrea Wang guest posting today. She’s always been a strong writer with a voice that represents Asian American culture proudly and accurately, but she’s recently made the leap from being great to exceptional.
I feel like this is her breakout year. Her newest picture book, Watercress, is on my list to win a Caldecott in 2022.
Today we are getting ready to celebrate Grandparents’ Day, coming up on September 6. What better way to celebrate than a book list from author Andrea Wang about the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren? It can be complicated to bridge the generational gap, especially as grandparents age, yet, there also is an unbreakable bond between grandparents and grandchildren.
Her debut middle grade book, The Many Meanings of Meilan, reflects this complex dynamic.
The Many Meanings of Meilan by Andrea Wang
Growing up with her grandparents and extended family above their family bakery, Meilan has always had a close relationship with her Nainai and Gonggong. But when Nainai passes away, Meilan’s grandfather retreats into his grief and the rest of the adults begin arguing about the future of the bakery. After the family has a falling-out, Meilan moves with her parents and Gonggong to a small town in Ohio. Gonggong begins to emerge from his grief; he goes fishing and starts a vegetable garden. But after reliving his past to help Meilan with a school project, Gonggong suddenly goes missing. It’s up to Meilan to find her grandfather, and, in the process, find herself. [middle grade, ages 9 and up]
We are giving away a copy of her debut middle grade book, The Many Meanings of Meilan. Please fill out the Rafflecopter at the bottom to enter.
How about you? Will you be celebrating Grandparents’ Day this Sunday? What are your favorite books about grandparents and grandchildren? Thanks for sharing!
Just in time to celebrate Grandparents’ Day on Sunday, September 12, 2021, here is a list of PB and MG books that feature relationships between children and grandparents. Bonus: most of them feature AAPI characters and are written and/or illustrated by AAPI creators.
Grandparents’ Day and The Many Meanings of Meilan
Drawn Together by Minh Lê, illustrated by Dan Santat
This gorgeous book is about a young boy who only speaks English and his grandfather who only speaks Thai. Their initial awkwardness transforms into adventure and understanding when they discover they do share a language — art. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
What a Beautiful Morning by Arthur Levine, illustrated by Katie Kath
I wish I’d had this book when my own children were young and struggling to find common ground with my father, who suffered from dementia. The main character, Noah, loves visiting his grandparents and doing all the special, fun things with his grandfather. But on this visit, Grandpa seems to have forgotten what those activities are, and it’s up to Noah to find something they can share together. I love the tagline: This is a story about how love helps us find even what we think is lost. [picture book, ages 3 and up]
The Most Beautiful Thing by Kao Kalia Yang, illustrated by Khoa Le
Based on Yang’s childhood memories as a Hmong refugee, this is a tender and poignant story about a young girl who wants braces to look more beautiful, but her family cannot afford them. As she cares for her elderly grandmother, who has but one tooth left, the girl learns that true beauty is found in those we love. [picture book, ages 4 and up]
Hope Springs by Jaime Berry
This is a heartwarming, empowering story about Jubilee Johnson, who lives with Nan, her grandmother. Nan is a bit of a nomad — they’ve moved so much that Jubilee keeps a list of “Relocation Rules.” This time, Jubilee convinces Nan to move to Hope Springs, where her TV crafting idol was born. In her new town, Jubilee makes friends and learns to stay put and stand up for what you believe in rather than moving on when things get tough. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
A Place to Belong by Cynthia Kadohata
In this beautiful, heart-wrenching historical novel, WWII is over and Hanako and her family have been released from an internment camp. But they can’t stay in the U.S. — they’re forced to move to Japan and live with Hanako’s grandparents, Jiichan and Baachan. Life is very difficult in post-war Japan, but with her grandparents’ help, Hanako discovers that “just because something is broken doesn’t mean it can’t be fixed.” Family plays a large part in holding Hanako together. [middle grade, ages 10 and up]
Finding Junie Kim by Ellen Oh
Interestingly, there are several parallels between Junie and Meilan’s stories. Junie also encounters racism at her school and has to decide whether to speak up or stay silent. She, too, interviews her grandparents for a school project. What she learns about their experiences growing up during the Korean War helps her to find her voice and do what’s right. An incredible story of strength and resilience. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Any Day with You by Mae Respicio
Not just a grandparent story, but a great-grandparent story. Filipino American girl Kaia’s great-grandfather, Tatang, has lived with her all her life, but now he’s decided to return to his native Philippines. Kaia embarks on a mission to convince Tatang to stay. The bond between them is so deep, so full of love and laughter, that it brought tears to my eyes. [middle grade, ages 8 and up]
Happy Grandparents’ Day to all the “grandies!” For many of us, it’s been a long 1.5 years of not being able to be with grandparents/grandchildren. I hope these books bring you a little closer together.
The Many Meanings of Meilan GIVEAWAY!
We are giving away The Many Meanings of Meilan. To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter below. We can only mail to U.S. and A.F.O. addresses.
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p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.