It’s always a pleasure to see grandparents bringing children to the library for story-time or special programs.
Grandparents are more than fun babysitters, though; their experiences and stories link us to our heritage and give us glimpses into history.
The Manatee County Library system has many titles illustrating the profound bond between children and their grandparents and great-grandparents. The following are just a sampling:
In “Just Like Josh Gibson” written by Angela Johnson and illustrated by Beth Peck, a grandmother recalls the success of “the Babe Ruth of the Negro Leagues,” the legendary Joshua “Josh” Gibson.
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The story also interweaves the grandmother’s girlhood dream of being allowed to play baseball on a team like her brothers. The book includes a brief bio of both Gibson and Toni Stone, who in 1953 became the first woman to play professional baseball in a men’s league when she was signed to play for the Negro League’s Indianapolis team.
In “Ocean Meets Sky” by brothers Eric and Terry Fan, magical, dream-like illustrations depict the enduring connection a young boy has with his grandfather who has passed away.
Remembering his grandfather’s stories of the ocean, young Finn, honors him by building a boat and taking a fantastic journey of the imagination guided by a great golden fish with a familiar voice.
Each year the Pura Belpre Awards recognize children’s literature celebrating and affirming Latino culture. In 2016 Meg Medina and Angela Dominguez received a Belpre Honor for “Mango, Abuela, and Me.” Their collaboration is the charming story of young Mia’s attempts to make her grandmother (abuela) feel welcome in her new home despite a language barrier between them.
In “Rolling Thunder” by Kate Messner and illustrated by Greg Ruth, a young boy accompanies his grandfather to Washington D.C. for the Rolling Thunder® Ride for Freedom. Miles of bikers ride to honor the men and women of the U.S. armed forces in this annual event each Memorial Day.
Lyrical, rhyming text complement the palette of the illustrations which follow the two as they make their way to the Vietnam War Memorial and pay tribute to friends the grandfather has lost.
In “Thunder Cake,” written and illustrated by Patricia Polacco, a young girl’s Russian grandmother (Babushka) helps her overcome her fear of thunderstorms with the distraction of baking a traditional cake. Ingredients are gathered and combined as they count from the time of the lightning flash to the rumble of the thunder. By the time the storm is upon them, they are adding the last strawberry to the top of the frosted cake and it is time to celebrate.
Adult readers will enjoy best-selling author Adriana Trigiani’s “Don’t Sing at the Table: Life Lessons from my Grandmothers.” Trigiani shares memories of life with her two very different, but equally inspiring grandmothers, Viola and Lucy.
The book is a loving, humorous tribute to her resourceful, extremely hard-working and dedicated grandmothers who dispensed wisdom on topics ranging from finance to how to wash a car properly to how to mix and outstanding Manhattan.
The library also offers a large selection of e-books and e-audiobooks.
Speaking Volumes, written by Manatee County Public Library System staff members, is published each Sunday in the Bradenton Herald. Mary Lysaght is the librarian at the Rocky Bluff branch. Access the library online at mymanatee.org/library.