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The Matchbox Diary Paperback – August 2, 2016
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Amazon Best Books of the Month March 2013: di-a-ry [dahy-uh-ree] noun.,: 1.a daily record, usually private, especially of the writer's own experiences, observations, feelings, attitudes, etc.
A cigar box full of memories imparts a tender story of grandfather and granddaughter, meeting and learning about each other for the first time. From an olive pit to scraps of newsprint, bits of ephemera housed in matchboxes serve as the record of an illiterate young immigrant’s life in America. This unique chronicle, passed down through the telling of each matchbox moment, creates a heartwarming experience of shared family history and bonding between generations. Breathtakingly beautiful and elaborately detailed illustrations give the perfect vintage feel to The Matchbox Diary, a treasure that will inspire readers young and old to share their own stories. --Seira Wilson --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Gr 1-4-An Italian-American immigrant shares his childhood memories with his great-granddaughter. The twist of this tale is that his memories have been kept in a "diary" of saved objects that commemorate the important events of his life. As a poor child who could neither read nor write, this now-elderly gentleman found a unique way to preserve his memories by saving the objects in matchboxes. Among the many items were a box of sunflower seed shells that counted the days from Naples to New York, a fish bone to remember the long days the entire family had to work in the canneries, and a ticket stub from his first baseball game. The journey unfolds prompted by the child's curious questions. Her inquiries provoke the descriptive vignettes of an earlier time and yet frame the story through the eyes of a youngster of today. Ibatoulline's sepia-toned illustrations beautifully express this immigrant's tale from Italy to Ellis Island and the start of a new life. They also provide a wonderful contrast to the warm-colored illustrations that depict a loving, appreciative relationship between an elderly man and a young child. This lovingly crafted picture book tells an amazing story that is uniquely American. Through unsentimental, yet warm and touching dialogue, Fleischman successfully shares a powerful journey that captures the hardships, self-reliance, strength, and simple joys that characterized early immigrants. It provides an inspirational introduction to the immigration story that captures the humanity of the journey.-Carole Phillips, Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale, NYα(c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top customer reviews
As for the illustrations, they are exquisite. The detail on the acrylic gouache (watercolor) paintings is amazing. The illustrations are so detailed they almost look like old photographs, which is clearly what the artist was going for. The pictures of the great-grandfather with his granddaughter are done in beautiful shades of color while the pictures representing the stories of his past that he tells are in shades of brown and white. The innocence of the children and the kindness and wisdom of the grandfather shine through very clearly. This is the kind of picture book that I love to just sit and look at because of the beauty of it. I highly recommend this story of family and change and life.
Which is one of the things that makes the Matchbox Diary so special...all of the things in this room tell a story, but the matchboxes tell Great Grandfather's story, and that is what makes this book so special.
I cannot wait to read it to my grandsons. P.S. I went to a cigar store and bought a wooden cigar box for $1 and will give it to them after we read the book.