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GG and Mamela Hardcover – April 15, 2014
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"simple but emotionally resonant illustrations...a nice, true-to-life touch...The book pairs an ethereal illustration with lyrical text, which truly captures the healing, transporting power of music in this setting. A welcome addition to children's literature about death and dying."
"simple but emotionally resonant illustrations...a nice, true-to-life touch...The book pairs an ethereal illustration with lyrical text, which truly captures the healing, transporting power of music in this setting. A welcome addition to children's literature about death and dying."<div> --Kirkus Reviews</div>
"outstanding in all criteria…a lovely story…well-written and very touching. The illustrations are outstanding, with well-formed expressive figures that stand out well from the nicely-detailed backgrounds." --Judge, Writer's Digest 22nd Annual Book Awards
About the Author
A writer, editor and former teacher, Belinda Brock was inspired to write this story by her personal experience.
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Top Customer Reviews
I read the book and re-read it... thinking whether to read it to my 5 year-old. I didn't want to bring back memories from her Great-Great Uncle's passing again, as every time his name is mentioned she breaks down in tears. After the second reading I asked her if she'd be interested in reading about a very beautiful story, but that it might make her feel very sad. She said she would.
We sat down and read the story, looking at the beautiful and colorful watercolor paintings that illustrate it. She asked several questions, and enjoyed the story very much. She did not cry at all, and her main concern at the end was understanding why the Great-Grandmother would call the little girl Mamela, when her name was Lily (we don't like her calling people names, so she didn't get why she was not using her name...). A few days later she said something that made me feel the overall message of the book had hit home: "You know? All my ancestors that passed, like my Great-Great Uncle, or my Great-Grand Fathers, I will never stop loving them, and they will always love me."
So, to summarize, I think "GG and Mamela" is a very sweet book with a lot of heart and beautiful illustrations. I do recommend it very much, specially if you need a way to explain to younger children about elderly care and grieving.
GG and Mamela tugged at my heart-strings from the opening page to the final wordless illustration. Anyone who has had the privilege of sharing a close relationship with a grandparent will be moved by this story. My daughter was very close with her grandmother who died of lung cancer when she was four years old. Like Lily in the story, our family would visit Grandma in the palliative care wing of the hospital in the final weeks of her life. This book would have been so helpful in opening up discussions pertaining to the thoughts and emotions she experienced around her grandmother’s death.
There are so many things that are incredibly well done in this wonderful picture book dealing with a very difficult topic. I love the significance of the chicken soup and how Lily and GG make the soup in the beginning, but then Lily and her Dad make it again later in the book, keeping alive that special memory of spending time together in the kitchen. The author even goes so far as to include that famous GG Chicken Soup Recipe at the back of the book (with secret ingredient listed and all!)
The author also does a great job of introducing GG’s change in health and subsequent admission into the hospice. The focus of the story is on the relationship between GG and Mamela with less emphasis on illness and death. GG’s declining health is evident, but there is gentleness and acceptance in the story that will prevent children from feeling frightened. There is an afterword for parents and caregivers at the very back of the book, written by the author’s daughter, Dr. Laura Brock (a clinical psychologist) which covers many topics including explaining how children may experience death and illness of a loved one and including suggestions for how to speak to children about these topics. This is an excellent addition to the book.
I don’t even know where to begin with the illustrations. If shapes and colors can capture mood, then the illustrator of GG and Mamela,Avi Katz, nails it beautifully. The watercolor pictures are just so gorgeous and they go hand in hand with the text in providing the reader with a great sense of what Lily is experiencing as she journeys from enjoying her time spent with her loving GG to the time she must say goodbye. The two-page spread above (without the text) brought tears to my eyes. This is simply a beautiful book.
My Bottom Line:
GG and Mamela is a beautifully illustrated and heartwarming picture book featuring a special relationship between a little girl, Lily (aka Mamela) and her great-grandmother (aka GG) who suddenly becomes ill and has to be moved into hospice care. The story deals with the issue of dying and death with gentleness and in an age-appropriate way. As a bonus, there is a guide for parents and caregivers in the back of the book as well as a recipe for Chicken Soup. I highly recommend this book for families wanting to open a discussion about dying, death, and/or hospice care with their children. Ages 4 to 10.
#5 on The Gittle List 2014: Best Indie Children's Picture Books
Death is a difficult subject. It is particularly hard to talk to a child about the impending departure of a dear loved one – like a grandmother. In "GG and Mamela," Ms. Brock gently weaves advice on how to broach the subject of death with a child into a touching – and real – story of a great grandmother (GG) and her great-granddaughter (Mamela). The importance of tradition is shown, but not preached. Avi Katz captures the warm relationship between the generations in his ethereal illustrations. Oddly, and wonderfully, the book includes a recipe for GG’s homemade chicken noodle soup. Please don’t let the topic scare you off from this lovely story. It is first and foremost a book about the relationship between a great-grandmother and her loving great-granddaughter.
(Disclosure: Ms. Brock entered "GG and Mamela" into The Gittle List: Top 10 Indie Children's Picture Books of 2014 contest. There was no entry fee and I was under no obligation to review it.)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Lily and her great grandma have a very special relationship, even making up endearing names for one...Read more