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.