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Children's LiteratureThis book is part of a warmly photographed series that takes as its premise Margaret Mead's belief that "grandmothers are the transmitters of culture." Children growing up in America learn the beliefs and traditions of their forebears from Grandmother, who in this case lives next door but frequently visits her native Egypt. The cover photograph brings you right into the heart of the family as we see Grandmother baking traditional cookies with a flour-faced little girl. The house surrounding the family is entirely American, as are the dress, toys and daily activities of the three young girls. But mother and grandmother wear hijab, the traditional Islamic head scarf. The family prays at the local mosque in New Jersey and celebrates Islamic holidays like Ramadan. There are even old family photos when Grandmother was a young girl in Egypt. The photographs are absolutely real. The story is simply told, with a single sentence on each page in large type and more details in smaller type. The story could be read to very young children just with the large type sentences. There is a brief glossary, a family tree and some suggested activities for young readers to learn about their own family history. Other titles in the series feature grandmothers who are Jewish, Hispanic, Chinese, African-American, Native American and British. It is a perfect series to reinforce the beauty of family, appreciation of the older generation, and joy in the growing diversity of American communities. 2003, Millbrook Press, Ages 4 to 12.
— Karen Leggett