Saturday, September 13, 2014

A Picture Book a Day for a Year: Day 147

Dynamic Duo: Book 2

Picture Book: Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs

Author & Illustrator: Tomie dePaola

Summary: Tomie dePaola explains in the up-dated version of this classic that he had the privilege of living near several grandparents and one great-grandmother. In this true story, Tommy regularly visits his grandmother, who is always found downstairs in the kitchen, and his great-grandmother who is found upstairs in bed because she is 94. Great-grandmother has to be tied in when she wants to sit in her chair so Tommy asks for the same. That’s where she shares her candy and stories of “the little people.” After Nana Upstairs’ death, Tommy visits the house and runs upstairs. Until he sees her empty bed, he can’t comprehend her absence. A falling star is a comfort to him. Nana Downstairs becomes just Nana. After many years, she too becomes bedridden and then dies. Soon after her death, Tommy sees another falling star and thinks, “Now you are both Nana Upstairs.”  

Hanna’s Comments: I like this book especially because it treats the issue of death of an elderly family member so beautifully and tenderly captures the sorrow and loss of these experiences. For those of us in faith communities in which belief in eternal life is comfort, this book would be especially valuable for children who have lost a senior family member or elderly person in your religious community. Like its PBT Dynamic Duo partner from yesterday, this story emphasizes strong connections across generations and the power of ritual.   

Publisher & Date of Publication: G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1973

Age & Grade Appropriateness: 4 and up, Pre and up

# of Pages: 32

Available in Spanish? Not at present

Formats other than Book: None at present

PBT Category: Classic, Non-fiction

PBT Topics this Book Connects with: affection, aging, ancestors/patriarchs & matriarchs, bonds/connections, caring/tending, change, dependence/interdependence, death/loss/grief, depression/despair/sadness/sorrow, disabilities/handicaps/limitations, family, grandparents, love, memories/remembering/ritual/tradition, moon/space/stars/sun, parables/stories, stories, unity

Scripture Connections: Timothy’s faith that dwelt first in his grandmother then his mother (2 Timothy 1:5)

Idea(s) for Application: Use this book in a lesson on Timothy and how Paul reminds Timothy of his great faith legacy from his grandmother and mother. Ask the children about the faith values and rituals they received from their grandparents. 

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