Stones for Grandpa

Renee Lond­ner; Martha Avilés, illus.
  • Review
By – September 12, 2013

The most need­ed con­ver­sa­tions are, by their nature, the most dif­fi­cult to ini­ti­ate with chil­dren. Londner’s new book, Stones for Grand­pa, helps us open a con­ver­sa­tion on death, even with a young child, by focus­ing on the joy and impor­tance of remem­ber­ing that per­son. The author reminds us that our mem­o­ries can nev­er be lost and the pow­er to car­ry the per­son with­in us is ever present. The Jew­ish tra­di­tion of lay­ing stones at the grave is a way to focus our mem­o­ries on that person.

The text is well bal­anced, focus­ing on the joy­ful mem­o­ries that doc­u­ment the pas­sage of time and on the Unveil­ing and the process of lay­ing stones. Her focus on cre­at­ing sol­id descrip­tions of the grandpa’s attrib­ut­es helps to estab­lish and lock-in the impor­tance of the mem­o­ries for the young boy.

Avilés’s illus­tra­tions flow across the pages and are warm, invit­ing, and con­tem­pla­tive, bring­ing the words to life though the caress of a moth­er, the grandpa’s hat on an emp­ty chair, and a hand­ker­chief wip­ing a tear. Her sen­si­tiv­i­ty to the text is reflect­ed through­out the illus­tra­tions. The book is high­ly rec­om­mend­ed for ages 5 – 9 and would also be of great use to schools, reli­gious schools, and bereave­ment groups of all ages as a means to explain and sup­port Juda­ic prin­ci­ples and traditions.

Chris­tine Maas­dam holds a Mas­ters in Human­i­ties, cer­ti­fi­ca­tions in Muse­um Stud­ies and Cul­tur­al Prop­er­ty Pro­tec­tion. She is cur­rent­ly com­plet­ing her M.L.I.S. Her inter­ests are phi­los­o­phy and the impact of art and tech­nol­o­gy on culture.

Discussion Questions