Bub­bie’s Mag­i­cal Hair

September 1, 2020

Bub­bie, like many grand­moth­ers, turns the ordi­nary into the spec­tac­u­lar and the mun­dane into some­thing mirac­u­lous. In Bub­bie’s Mag­i­cal Hair, the lyri­cal text com­bines with play­ful illus­tra­tions to take read­ers on a whim­si­cal jour­ney as Bub­bie and her grand­chil­dren grow old­er, remind­ing us of all the ways grand­par­ents bring us joy, com­fort, and inspiration.

Through her adven­tures, Bub­bie exem­pli­fies the key val­ues of Judaism, edu­ca­tion, fam­i­ly, tol­er­ance, jus­tice, char­i­ty, and kind­ness to others.

Brown Curls turned to gray waves‚ Bub­bie winds her hair through the tales she has lived. Nature and imag­i­na­tion com­bine to hon­or the pow­er of all grand­par­ents and their endur­ing rela­tion­ships. A visu­al delight that can be read on many lev­els, explor­ing feel­ings, sci­ence, inter­na­tion­al cus­toms, and imag­i­na­tion. Rib­bons, stars, and dan­de­lion dust spread mag­ic. This is a uni­ver­sal sto­ry of pass­ing on the essence of loved ones, as life continues.

Look for her in the mir­ror, in the pock­et of your coat, and when you look both ways cross­ing the street.

Discussion Questions

Cour­tesy of Abbe Rolnick

  1. As a par­ent or grand­par­ent, what do you want your chil­dren or grand­chil­dren to know about you?

  2. How are the activ­i­ties you share with your chil­dren or grand­chil­dren con­nect­ed to your life and others?

  3. Plac­ing your­self with­in your own tra­di­tions – cul­tur­al and reli­gious — how does shar­ing the tales or activ­i­ties con­nect these teachings.

  4. Explore the themes of liv­ing and dying, in the con­text of the world in which the chil­dren and grand­chil­dren live.

  5. One of the themes of Bubbie’s Mag­i­cal Hair, is the cycle of life, not only with peo­ple but nature. What does this say about our envi­ron­ment? How does what we observe and do impact where we live and those liv­ing far away?

  6. Thoughts realign, now puffed with pur­pose.” The illus­tra­tions infer edu­ca­tion and the future expressed visu­al­ly. This is an oppor­tu­ni­ty to dis­cuss the con­cepts of respon­si­bil­i­ty, life learn­ing, and our children’s impor­tance for the future. How do the roles reverse them­selves, with Bub­bie shed­ding tears? Dis­cuss feel­ings of change.

  7. I describe this book as a metaphor— aging and grow­ing, as well to release lega­cies into the world. What oth­er pur­pose does the idea of mag­ic con­vey? Rib­bons, stars, and dan­de­lions spread magic.”

  8. As I grew up, my hair pre­ced­ed me into any room. What oth­er fea­tures do we have but can’t be changed? How can they be seen as won­der­ful and mag­i­cal? Explore the idea of self-esteem.

  9. I learned my reli­gion with the activ­i­ties my Bub­bie and I shared. Bak­ing strudel and dunk­ing cook­ies was one of the ways we did this. But I also made gefilte fish and mat­zo balls as well as talked about my Bubbie’s arrival from Rus­sia, the rea­sons for com­ing and the dif­fi­cul­ties she expe­ri­enced. How can we mod­ern­ize these activ­i­ties to make sense in this world?

  10. One of the themes in Bubbie’s Mag­i­cal Hair was to express the mul­ti­cul­tur­al sim­i­lar­i­ties we all share. Bub­bie has many names.” The illus­tra­tions reveal more through­out the book with geo­graph­ic loca­tions that show dif­fer­ences in dress and lifestyle. How does this theme exem­pli­fy the core ideas of joy, com­fort, and inspiration?