Review Blog

Aug 25 2020

What do you call your grandpa? by Ashleigh Barton

cover image

Illus. by Martina Heiduczek. Harper Collins, 2020. ISBN: 9780733340864.
(Ages: 3-7) Recommended. With this debut book, Ashleigh Barton provides a heartwarming depiction of child-grandfather relationships around the world. 'In every country around the world are grandpas short and tall. Though they go by different names, we love them one and all.' Each page shows a grandpa and his grandchild somewhere around the world and a short verse about them: 'Here's the world's most dapper chap, in his vest and driving cap. Every week he's at the barber. Levi calls his grandpa Saba'. At the end of the story is a page explaining which language each name is from and countries where it might be spoken. Each page shows the special relationship between a grandfather and his grandchildren by depicting activities they might do together: bike riding, playing hide and seek, storytelling and telling jokes.
The inclusion of an Indigenous Australian language name and the fact that each name is not tied to a place or country shows how well thought out and inclusive this book is. While each illustration hints at a place or country, it doesn't specify and most could be anywhere in the world. There are children in countries all around the world using these name words for their grandparents, whether they are in the country where the language is prevalent or not. 'Across the globe these grandpas roam. Now let's meet one close to home. Sing it out from where you are. What do you call your grandpa?'
This is a beautiful and important book for children living in our culturally diverse country. Themes: Grandfathers, Languages, Rhyming story.
Nicole Nelson

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