cover image Nana, Nenek & Nina

Nana, Nenek & Nina

Liza Ferneyhough. Dial, $17.99 (32p) ISBN 978-0-593-35394-3

Simultaneous portrayals cleverly elevate Ferneyhough’s picture book debut, on every spread tracing a child visiting grandmothers “on opposite sides of the world”—England and Malaysia. When light-brown-skinned Nina and her family fly “toward sunrise” from San Francisco to visit white-presenting Nana, she wears her wellies into the garden, plays noughts-and-crosses on Daddy’s old board, and eats beans for breakfast, all shown on verso pages. When she flies “toward sunset” to visit Nenek, who is portrayed with brown skin, corresponding recto pages show Nina wearing her selipar around the halaman, playing congkak on Mama’s old set, and eating beans for dessert. Each balanced spread is full of eye-catching specificities that take readers through daily experiences: in equivalent bathing scenes, a toilet chain and rubber ducky appear in a seafoam-blue British bathroom, set across from lizards on the pale-yellow Malaysian bathroom wall. Balancing images, patterns, and hues, these juxtapositions convey the ease with which Nina lives in three cultures—and the affection she receives in each—in a book that conveys differences and similarities bound together by love, and offers a joyful narrative of multicultural childhood. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)