Books Early Readers Features Genre Joy and Peace in Literature Lifespan of a Reader Middle Grade Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] The Peace That “Grandma’s Gardens” Bring

... by Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton and illustrated by Carme Lemniscates.

Myra here.

We are delighted to dedicate our Wednesdays to featuring nonfiction titles, as per usual. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year, when we can.


Grandma’s Gardens (Amazon | Book Depository)

Written by Hillary Clinton & Chelsea Clinton Illustrated by Carme Lemniscates
Published by Philomel Books (2020)
ISBN: 059311535X (ISBN13: 9780593115350) Literary Award: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books (2020) Borrowed from Overdrive. Book photos taken by me.

Having a garden is a life-affirming, light-giving experience. Evidently, it is a privilege that not many people may be able to afford – yet the beauty and sustenance it brings cannot be overestimated. My own mother loved to garden when I was a young child. She took pride in having a “green thumb” – that most plants, despite the humid climate and smog of Manila being unforgiving – can somehow blossom and grow under her care. It is perhaps this recollection that has made me emotionally connect with the story told by mother and daughter, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton.

It is clearly a tribute to Hillary Clinton’s mother – her love for gardens and how she made them places of comfort and sanctuary and light. The story is told in both Hillary and Chelsea’s voices – the colors in the fonts providing the distinction. While the shifts in perspective within the same page took a bit of getting used to initially, the “two voices” grew in me, and highlighted the collaborative aspect of the narrative.

There is fondness here – and spaces of togetherness bound in greens and growing things all around. It is a gentle story filled with gratitude and love – much love.

While I generally try to veer away from picturebooks written by celebrity authors – I admit to being captivated by Chelsea Clinton’s voice (see my review of She Persisted and She Persisted Around The World). I will continue to watch out for books that she writes in the future.

This particular story will inspire you to grab a book and read it in the comfort of your garden (if you have one) or a nearby park with greens. More than anything, it is an invitation to simply be and breathe.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

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