My Lola was one of my kindred spirits. I think she understood me in a different way than my mom does. While my mom and I have our own special relationship too, there’s something irreplaceable about growing up with your grandparents.
Lola didn’t live with us but we saw her and Lolo almost daily. It’s been seventeen years since she died and I still miss her.
So you can imagine that when I heard that Dan Santat was illustrating a picture book about a boy’s relationship with his grandfather, I leaped at the chance to read it. I mean, it’s Dan Santat, right?
With words by Minh Le and illustrations in two different complementing styles by Santat, Drawn Together DOES NOT disappoint.
Le and Santat deftly depict the generational—not to mention linguistic—divide between the boy and his grandfather. In the end, they not only find something they have in common, but they make each other better artists. And people.
It makes for a joyful (tearful) moment. And I love it. Read this book with your kids.
Better yet, if your kids are lucky enough to have some (wonderful) grandparents or grandparent-like figures who are still alive, then let them share this book with each other. You won’t regret it.
Santat outdoes himself with the illustrations in Drawn Together. It matches the whimsical nature of Beekle and opens up a world of imagination in a different way while Minh Le’s sparse words are powerful in their message.
BTW, I have a “The Skinny on this Writer” post about Santat expounding his talents here. He also wrote this article on his blog after I posted the author feature and it made me admire him more. He talks about childhood scars and stereotypes and how he’s come through the realization of who he is. And he has many words of wisdom for many kids who may be feeling the same way. Though I grew up in a slightly more diverse area than he did, I could connect easily with his feelings.
Except I wasn’t the funny one. I was the smart one.
Shocking, right? An Asian stereotype that lives on through this day.
Except it doesn’t, not everywhere.
My Bookworm (mixed) girls are growing up in an area and time in which certain assumptions aren’t automatically being made about them.
Though I do steadfastly refuse to move to a predominantly white area (or away from the ocean), even as my kids are half-white.
It’s not fun automatically being THE OTHER. Where they go to school, no one judges them by the color of their skin. At least for now.
My hope is that I’m raising girls who are aware and proud of their heritage, while not being judged for it. It’s not a perfect world out there, I know. But they are living in a better world than I grew up in. Even just by a little bit.
[And here’s to hoping that with the current political climate, it doesn’t change. My girls, especially my eldest, are quick to speak out against injustice, whereas I may have not known to do so.]
Tell Dr. Bookworm!
Is there a book you read with one of your grandparents or grandparent-figures? Or another activity that you share together? Let me know in the comment section below.