picture books for pairing: summer is here

Summer is here: a pair of picture books to celebrate!

 

These picture books share signals of a season’s arrival. They share summer fruit, rich imagery and details, and even relationships with grandmothers at their center and heart—showing how when there is a loving adult to accompany us through a spell, it’s that much sweeter. They demonstrate connection to summer (and in the case of Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This is How I Know, all the seasons) by way of the natural world, the food we eat, the people who fill our days.

They share lyrical language, each in their own way, and equally enchanting art, each in their own way as well.

They even share a first line:

“Aaniish ezhi-gkendmaanh niibing?”

“How do I know summer is here?”

 

 

When Lola Visits story by Michelle Sterling, art by Aaron Asis (2021).

An immersive journey through the sensations of summer and the love and comfort only a lola can bring.

 

 

 

“How do I know summer is here?”

The narrator knows by way of Lola coming to visit from the Philippines. What her grandmother brings for her, how her grandmother spends time with her, and most central, what her grandmother cooks and eats with her! This picture book, brushed throughout with verdant pastels, encapsulates the joy of summer and special connection and is simultaneously a celebration of Filipino food. Gorgeous, evocative descriptions and renderings fill its pages: cassava cake (I love this spread with the characters’ conspiratorial smiles in front of the oven), suman, kalamansi pie, lumpia, brown-sugar bananas.

 

 

And When Lola Visits carries a range of emotion as well because like summer, everything changes—Lola’s visit comes to an end. Joy turns to missing and the wind begins to blow in the empty space Lola leaves. But summer lasts a while longer still, as it always does, with other sweet things to fill the days until new sensations signal change again, and more joy and special connection yet to be discovered.

 

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This is How I Know: a Book about Seasons by Brittany Luby & Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley (2021). Translated by Alvin Ted Corbiere and Alan Corbiere.

A contemplative, calming, beautifully bilingual outing through the signs of each season, starting with summer, every cue from the natural world a chance to notice, to absorb, to revel in.

 

“Aaniish ezhi-gkendmaanh niibing?”

“How do I know summer is here?”

The narrator knows by way of what changes in the natural world: the animals and plants, the sun and moon. This picture book brims with colors as rich and saturated as the observations and details in Anishinaabemowin and English that they illustrate.

Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This is How I Know follows a child and their grandmother, first into the arrival of summer and then through the remaining seasons. They are always together, constant. When outside, they are almost always near the water. But the world around them shifts.

 

Each of the four sections of this picture book asks that question: how does the narrator know of its arrival? Most end with child and grandmother sitting: enjoying, reflecting, connecting, soaking up a season’s peaceful close. Thrumming with direct, detailed poetry, deep greens, blues, mustard, browns, this is a story to inspire slowing down, going outside, experiencing Anishinaabemowin language and Native culture, and bonding with our world and loved ones.

 

 

Big thanks to HarperCollins Katherine Tegen Books and Groundwood Books for images!

 

 

1 Response to picture books for pairing: summer is here

  1. Pingback: picture book giveaway for educators for 8 years of this picture book life! - This Picture Book Life

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