cover image Just Like Grandma

Just Like Grandma

Kim Rogers, illus. by Julie Flett. Heartdrum, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-06-304924-6

“In traditional Native American families, grandparents and Elders have always played a significant role in raising and educating children,” writes Rogers (an enrolled member of Wichita and Affiliated Tribes) in this work’s author’s note, and her picture book debut tenderly centers one such relationship. “More than anything,” young Becca wants to be “just like Grandma,” a refrain that follows the days as Becca watches Grandma beading a pair of buckskin moccasins, painting a glorious sunrise, and dancing Fancy Shawl at the weekend powwow. Each spread sees Becca learning from her elder before the two engage, together, in the activity, leading up to a family meal: “Together they flutter like the most beautiful butterflies/ Grandpa has ever seen,/ until the sun dips below the tree line/ and he calls them in for fried chicken.” The formula flips when Grandma asks Becca to teach her to play basketball, and their practice sessions help Becca at team tryouts, and provide a lens for grandchild and grandparent to appreciate their shared story. Textured, earth-toned art from Cree-Métis illustrator Flett (Still This Love Goes On) foregrounds the two figures, who cue as Wichita, while the text emphasizes a love of family and sense of tradition that anchor this subtly told story’s world. An author’s note and glossary conclude. Ages 4–8. Author’s agent: Tricia Lawrence, Erin Murphy Literary. Illustrator’s agent: Steven Malk, Writers House. (Jan.)