Gran, You've Got Mail!

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ANNABELLE’S FATHER WANTS her to master her computer keyboard. Annabelle thinks the chore will be more tolerable if she writes letters to someone. She chooses Gran, her great-grandmother. Of course, Gran is most definitely not online, so Annabelle prints and mails her letters off. At first, Gran takes her time answering—and she’s in the habit of repeating herself—but soon the two are keeping up a steady correspondence. Letter by letter, a true, tender friendship evolves. Annabelle and Gran talk about everything: ...
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Overview

ANNABELLE’S FATHER WANTS her to master her computer keyboard. Annabelle thinks the chore will be more tolerable if she writes letters to someone. She chooses Gran, her great-grandmother. Of course, Gran is most definitely not online, so Annabelle prints and mails her letters off. At first, Gran takes her time answering—and she’s in the habit of repeating herself—but soon the two are keeping up a steady correspondence. Letter by letter, a true, tender friendship evolves. Annabelle and Gran talk about everything: parents, movies, school, the past and the present. When Annabelle divulges a big secret—the reason she and her best friend are no longer speaking—Gran remembers a similar situation. And when Gran needs foot surgery, Annabelle begins to worry.
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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Naomi Milliner
Twelve-year-old Annabelle's dad wants her to practice typing on the computer. Instead of keeping an electronic diary, she begins a correspondence with her great grandmother. Over the next six months, the two learn so much, and make a difference in, each others' lives. Early on, Annabelle hints that she and her best friend, Lucia, had a big fight and parted ways. Over time, Annabelle confides in Gran, explaining that she had not only copied Lucia's math test, but was too cowardly to admit it, and both failed as a result. Gran then shares a story of her own lost friendship, and writes, "A broken friendship is as serious as a broken heart." Encouraged by Gran, Annabelle slowly mends the rift between her and Lucia (but, realistically, their friendship will clearly never be the same). When Gran becomes seriously ill (her foot is amputated), Annabelle writes: "I've gotten used to… your letters. They're like an addiction!" She has also come to understand that, while she can make new friends, Gran is irreplaceable. This is a lovely book: tender, warm, funny, wise, and believable. It is also guaranteed to melt the hearts of granddaughters in any language. The illustrations are very nicely done—just enough extra flavor, but not overpowering. This would make a wonderful gift from, or for, grandmothers everywhere. Reviewer: Naomi Milliner
School Library Journal

Gr 3-6

Told through letters written between Annabelle and her great grandmother, this novel touches on issues of friendship and getting to know one's family. At first, Annabelle writes to Gran because her father wants her to learn how to use her computer and improve her typing. It is clear from the beginning that the two are not very familiar with one another, and at times don't understand each other's lifestyles. Initially, Annabelle comes off as rude, telling her grandmother, "I wish you'd make an effort" and "maybe you couldn't care less." Gran, on the other hand, does not understand Annabelle sometimes either, such as why she would want to go see Titanic on a sunny day. Originally published in France in 1999, the novel seems dated. Additionally, the title will most likely lead readers to think of email, and Annabelle is actually mailing her letters. There are also subjects that she studies in school that American students will not recognize. A notes section explains certain terms, but unfortunately they're at the back of the book. As the letters progress, a true and tender friendship between Annabelle and Gran develops, and readers become involved in their stories.-Sarah O'Holla, Village Community School, New York City

Kirkus Reviews
A series of letters between 12-year-old Annabelle and her great-grandmother show Annabelle's increasing sympathy for the older woman, who becomes a friend and confidante. Typically self-centered at first, Annabelle complains about her family and the loss of her best friend. This prompts her previously brusque great-grandmother to recall a friend she lost, and still misses. Over the six-month span of the letters, Annabelle makes new friends, and the older woman sends her a kitten and some of her old dresses. When Gran has to have her foot amputated, Annabelle has matured enough to realize the seriousness of her condition, and her letters give the ailing woman new hope. Abolivier's tiny grey-scale drawings identify the writer and illustrate each entry. The translation is modern and reads smoothly, but is more formal than the language a teen writer would realistically use. Overall, this is a believable exploration of the growth of a relationship between a woman with strong, sad memories from the First World War and a member of the digital generation. (Fiction. 10-14)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385735650
  • Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  • Publication date: 9/9/2008
  • Edition description: Translatio
  • Pages: 128
  • Age range: 8 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 680L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.10 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Jo Hoestlandt is a prolific author of books for children in her native France.

Aurélie Abolivier illustrates books for children in France.

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