In praise of grandparents

How did you celebrate Grandparents’ Day?

If you have a grandfather like Papa Red in Christopher Paul Curtis’ “What? You Think You Got It Rough?”, you probably stayed far away from the rocking chair, trying to avoid learning the definition of the word “smote.” Or maybe your grandfather swapped unfortunate stories with you, like The Legend of the Worst Boy in the World.

Did you make a gorilla fly across your grandmother’s living room? Did your grandmother tell you stories? Or maybe your grandmother lives on the other side of the world, but you shared the moon together.

Marian McQuade started Grandparent’s Day in recognition of elderly people who were lonely or lived in nursing homes. You know who I think might have liked to be visited by somebody? The Old Woman Who Named Things. She was so lonely that she named her bed Roxanne and her chair Fred. She had outlived all her friends, and was afraid to get close to another living thing, even a stray dog. There aren’t really any major child characters in this book, which is interesting; it both points to her loneliness and somehow opens the way to empathizing with her even more. And she seems like a cool person to get to know; I love her bright, almost Ms. Frizzle-esque outfit and pointy boots.

Even if you don’t celebrate Grandparents’ Day, you can remember your grandparents every day.

About Amy

Children's librarian, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
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