VALERIA | Kirkus Reviews
RELEASE DATE: Oct. 15, 2021
With ample emotional subtext, a young girl recalls everyday details about her beloved grandfather the day after his death.
The child bites her mother’s toe to wake her up, wishing that she could have done the same for her baba bozorg, her beloved grandfather, who had forgotten to wake up the day before. She kisses a pancake that reminds her of her grandfather’s face. Her mother, who had been admonishing her for playing with her food, laughs and kisses the pancake’s forehead. Returning to Baba Bozorg’s home, the child sees minute remnants of her grandfather: a crumpled-up tissue, smudgy eyeglasses, and mint wrappers in his coat pockets. From these artifacts the narrator transitions to less tangible, but no less vivid, memories of playing together and looks of love that transcend language barriers. Deeply evocative, Hrab’s narrative captures a child’s understanding of loss with gentle subtlety, and gives space for processing those feelings. Kazemi’s chalk pastel art pairs perfectly with the text and title: Pink cherry hues, smoky grays, and hints of green plants appear throughout the book, concluding in an explosion of vivid green that brings a sense of renewal, joy, and remembrance to the heartfelt ending. Though the story is universally relevant, cultural cues and nods to Iranian culture will resonate strongly with readers of Iranian/Persian heritage. (This book was reviewed digitally.)
A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain.
(Picture book. 4-8)
Pub Date: Oct. 15, 2021
Page Count: 32
Publisher: Owlkids Books
Review Posted Online: July 14, 2021
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2021
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