Review Blog

May 19 2014

Jam for Nana by Deborah Kelly

cover image

Ill. by Lisa Stewart. Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780857980014.
When Nana makes pancakes, Granddaughter spreads the jam. She smooths it right out to the edges to make the pancake look like a giant orange sun. But today's jam is not like the jam that Nana remembers. That jam tasted like the sun, not just looked like it. She could count the apricots and feel the warmth of a hundred summers. Granddaughter really wants to give Nana that sensation again but when it becomes clear that it's impossible to travel back to Nana's childhood, she comes up with another idea . . .
The bond between a grandmother and her granddaughter is really special - I know because I have four of them - and this delightful story with its gentle pastel-toned illustrations is an example of it. It shows the love and connection that is so common but doesn't stereotype the grandmother as an elderly lady with a bun spending her days knitting. Coupled with other books in the library's collection, it would add another layer of the diversity of grandmothers, who they are and what they do, providing a great foundation for exploring the early childhood Australian Curriculum history concepts about family members, where they fit in the structure of the family and their history. Today's grandmothers might not make their own jam but this story would be a great way to tap into what their lives were like as granddaughters and what they recall their grandmothers doing that is not done now, as well as those family traditions that are continued. Maybe they could speculate on those things they do now and the memories and moments they've had with their grandmothers that they might pass on to their own grandchildren.
Jam for Nana is about so much more than having real jam on pancakes - it is the key to a door that will open a myriad of memories and strengthen the bonds between the generations for those lucky enough to have a family history that can still be told.
Barbara Braxton

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