Friday, October 14, 2022

Holding On to Grandparents

With gratitude practices as favored health regimens, Thanksgiving plans upon some (sorry I'm too late for countries who had Thanksgiving already), and legacies of our saints remembered in early November, this book seems perfect to feature. Meaningful rituals, issues of memory, a grateful orientation, profound joy, and loving grandparent legacies (think Lois mentioned in 2nd Timothy 1:2) are obvious scripture connections!

Picture Book: Holding On

Author: Sophia N. Lee

Illustrator: Isabel Roxas

Summary: This book begins: There is always singing in Lola’s house. From the point of view of a granddaughter with her grandmother only in summer, this book celebrates the pure love that skips a generation. 

Within sentences describing grandmother fun are profound statements of deeply meaningful love held with ritual. Lola tells her granddaughter: 
If you want to hold on, you gotta sing your songs.
The granddaughter explains how her grandmother holds on. Tokens from her childhood are treasured. Outgrown clothing is transformed into quilts. Photographs and framed childish drawings are dusted. 
The narrator holds on to all that her grandmother has taught her and “carries it in her heart.” Their loving rituals include singing, listening to music, dancing, cooking special recipes, even playing the lotto. Stories of her grandfather Lolo and the narrator’s infant ways are ritually shared too. 
When Lola no longer remembers some things, the granddaughter sings for her. She explains: 
It is my way of letting her know that’s it's okay if she doesn’t remember sometimes. I’ll remember for her.
Hanna’s Comments: Oh, how I wish I had grandmother memories like these! My sister is such a grandmother to my children. She tells me, “There is no love like grandmother love!” These lessons ground children with love of course, but also identity and meaning. They can be soothing in childhood and offer inner strength in adulthood. Encourage children who don’t have grandmothers in their lives to think about people who are invested in them unconditionally. Hopefully, they will think of people in their church family.

Original Publisher: Antheum, 2022

Age Appropriateness: 4 and up

Formats other than Book: Tablet

Scripture Connections: Any scripture about generational rituals or beliefs such as 2nd Timothy 1:5 where Paul affirms the legacy of sincere faith from Timothy’s grandmother Lois. And there is Proverbs 22:6 which instructs us to train a child in ways that will not be lost when they are old.

More generally, this story connects to scriptures about gratitude, joy, and grandparents. Because so many Psalms were initially sung with sincere faith and with great joy, they too connect with this book and could lead to a powerful conversation about music and other worship rituals that are reminders of grandparents’ faith.

Connections to The Revised Common Lectionary: This book is listed in my Trinity Treasures preschool curriculum in Year C (theme: Faith from Family) on a week which lists the 2nd Timothy scripture mentioned above.

PBT Applications: Read this book to a group of parents of young children. Help them identify the gifts and values their parents are passing or would want to pass on to future generations. Consider asking participants to bring a treasured item from an ancestor that symbolizes a particular legacy of faith from family.  


Read it to a group of young children and ask them to draw or dramatize the ways their grandparents (or others in your church) show love.

If you are interested in learning more about Trinity Treasures, a scripture based preschool Sunday school curriculum that features picture books & children’s Bibles, contact me at hannaschock@bellsouth.netRight now, free lessons are emailed if you agree to fill out the monthly feedback form.

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