Monday, March 30, 2020

Review - Grandmother School

Grandmother School
by Rina Singh
illustrated by Ellen Rooney
Date: 2020
Publisher: Orca Book Publishers
Reading level: C
Book type: picture book
Pages: 32
Format: e-book
Source: NetGalley

Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education--when Aaji learns to spell her name you'll want to dance along with her.

Women in countless countries continue to endure the limitations of illiteracy. Unjust laws have suppressed the rights of girls and women and kept many from getting an education and equal standing in society. Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, this brilliantly illustrated book tells the story of the grandmothers who got to go to school for the first time in their lives.

(synopsis from Goodreads)

Grandmother School is a sweet little book based on real events.

Many grandmothers in India can't read or write. In one village, a teacher sought to change that and created the Aajibaichi Shala, or Grandmother School. Every day, the children walk their grandmothers in their bright pink saris to the school, where they learn reading and basic arithmetic.

Though this story is narrated by a fictional little girl, it's based on what happened in Phangane, India in 2016. So those who are looking for picture books with a non-fiction bent might want to check this one out.

The mixed-media illustrations are charming and colourful, depicting the village, its inhabitants, and the Aajibaichi Shala in vibrant hues. They compliment the story nicely, especially as they incorporate a few words written in the Marathi alphabet.

Overall, this is a lovely book. Kids who don't live in India are liable to find this an eye-opening experience; they might not take their own grandmothers' literacy for granted after reading this story!

Thank you to NetGalley and Orca Book Publishers for providing a digital ARC.

Premise: 5/5
Meter: n/a
Writing: 4/5
Illustrations: 4/5
Originality: 4/5

Enjoyment: 4/5

Overall: 4.17 out of 5

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