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“Xiao Le’s grandma lived in the faraway perfume village…”
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Villageis a precious picture book about a little boy named Xiao Le, his mother, and his grandma.The book was written by Fang Suzhen and illustrated by Sonja Danowski. It was first published in Chinese and is now available in English.
A Visit to Grandma
We meet Xiao Le on the day he is going to visit his grandma with his mother. He is excited to take the train to go see her and wants to show her his truck. But when he arrives, he is sad to see that Grandma is not feeling well and is in bed. He helps his mother with taking care of her, and soon enough Grandma becomes well just long enough to play with him. They play a game with wood sorrel that his mother used to play with her when she was little.
But it’s not long before Grandma needs to go back to bed. Xiao Le sees his mother crying, and soon they have to leave to go home. They bid grandma goodbye and take the train home… and Xiao Le soon learns Grandma has passed away and gone to heaven.\
A Story of Loss
Grandma Lives in a Perfume Villagetells the story of loss of a beloved family member and grief through a small child’s eyes. The entire story is told through Xiao Le’s point of view. We see both Grandma’s illness and his mom’s sadness through his eyes. This book would be a wonderfully comforting book for young children who are dealing with their own loss of an older family member.
Kids will understand Xiao Le’s sadness as well as his wish for his mom to feel better. It also deals with the concept of heaven through the eyes of a little child. This book would serve as a comfort for anyone who has experienced loss, especially the loss of a grandparent. The beautiful illustrations capture the serenity of the story and the whimsical outlook of a little boy.
1.) Since this book focuses on the relationship between a child and his grandparent, encourage young readers to think about their own grandparents. They can write or draw about their favorite memories with their grandparents. If their grandparents are living, encourage your kids to share their writing or drawing with them.
2.) So many of us know people who have lost someone recently. Kids are often so good at offering comfort. Together write a sympathy card to someone you know who is grieving.
3. If your family is grieving the loss of a loved one, be gentle with yourselves. Reading books like this one is a good way to process grief together. Share with each other your memories of your loved one, and if you want to, imagine what it might be like for them in heaven.
4. Play the wood sorrel game described in the book, either with real wood sorrel or with string or yarn. Enjoy. 🙂
All in all, this is a book about the love of a family. Give your family members a big hug to share your love!
Have a very happy Valentine’s Day, and Happy Lunar New Year!
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