FICTION

Nana Akua Goes to School

Random/Schwartz & Wade Bks. Jun. 2020. 40p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780525581130.
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K-Gr 2–Grandparent’s Day is fast approaching and Zura’s classmates are very excited. Alejo is bringing in his abuelo, an amazing fisherman, who will teach the children how to catch fish. Bisou’s mimi is a dentist and is going to give each child a toothbrush. Zura, on the other hand, has great anxiety about introducing her beloved nana Akua to her friends. Nana grew up in Ghana and has permanent tribal markings on her face and Zura has begun to notice that these scars can scare people. She is fearful that her classmates won’t understand and will laugh and be mean to her beloved grandmother. After Zura confesses her distress, she and her nana come up with a plan. On the day of the celebration, they show the class different tribal symbols utilizing a handmade quilt and then ask the children to choose one for nana to paint on their faces. Everyone is thrilled. Mixed-media collage illustrations are the perfect medium to showcase this endearing tale.
VERDICT This lovely story explores the perennial fear of being different, while showcasing the great love between a grandparent and grandchild. Pair this with Joowon Oh’s Our Favorite Day for a winning story hour. Strongly recommended for purchase for all collections.

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