Inside: Looking for an amazing book to celebrate a special grandmother? Look no further than MY GRANDMA AND ME, an exquisite new story by MIna Javaherbin and illustrated by Lindsey Yankey. Check it out below!
*This post contains affiliate links. HEE received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher, but all opinions are expressly our own.
My grandma, affectionately known as “Gigi,” was the epitome of class.
Gigi was elegant in her scarves and sweet-smelling in her Shalimar perfume. She could fix things around the house better than the world’s best handyman, she had a penchant for shopping, and she loved popping Krispy Kreme donuts into the microwave for 12 seconds before scarfing the sweet treats down for a snack. She was gracious, kind and charitable, and she was the center of my world.
I grew up in Miami and my family is Jewish, but the second I picked up MY GRANDMA AND ME, written by MIna Javaherbin and illustrated by Lindsey Yankey, I was blown away by this breathtaking story. It presented such a striking parallel of my own relationship with my grandmother, and I was instantly in love.
Set in Iran and based on the author’s relationship with her own grandma, MY GRANDMA AND ME so beautifully conveys a powerful message: the love shared between a grandparent and grandchild is a universal experience, no matter where you live, what you wear, or what religion you practice.
It is a simple but poignant story. MY GRANDMA AND ME is the tale of a young girl, her grandmother, and their life together in Iran. The story is written almost as a love letter to the child’s grandmother, reminiscent of their magical and meaningful moments together.
The child remembers how she followed her grandma’s every movement, relishing their shared moments whether reciting prayers together on Ramadan, visiting friends in their building, or playing make-believe with grandma’s chadors (head scarves) and using the beautiful fabric as entryways to imaginative adventures. Rich with emotion and interwoven with details from Iranian and Islamic culture, this book is pure love — and perfection, too.
To so many families, grandmothers are heroes, the strong matriarchs of families who enrich their grandchildren’s lives through story, imagination and tradition. MY GRANDMA AND ME conveys this notion effortlessly. Yet, what I find even more powerful about MY GRANDMA AND ME is the way it provides a beautiful window into Iranian and Islamic traditions, making foreign customs not just relatable, but recognizable to anyone who reads this story.
Differences can cause fear and anxiety among people. But when a book like MY GRANDMA AND ME is read aloud to a diverse group of children in a school in America or elsewhere, it is so easy to look beyond these differences and instead point out all of the similarities within these pages.
The tender relationships between grandparents and grandchildren — the adoration a grandchild feels for grandma and the devotion grandma feels for her grandchild — is universal. The feelings MY GRANDMA AND ME conjures transcend culture, religion and place, and you simply can’t read this book without it inspiring memories of your own grandparents, or without your child pointing out numerous shared experiences.
MY GRANDMA AND ME is filled with love, a book that will simultaneously help build connection, foster empathy and deepen cultural understanding when read with children. This is the power of story.
Whether the grandparents in your family are Bubbie and Zadie, Abuela and Abuelo, or Oma and Opa, you will want to stay cocooned within the warm, tender pages of this exquisite story. MY GRANDMA AND ME is an absolute treasure, one I know will become a staple not just in our home, but in our school library, too. Two giant trunks up for this beauty!