Monday, October 21, 2019

The Yellow Suitcase - a bookwrap

Please meet Asha.  She is all packed and ready to fly to India with her parents to be with her beloved Grandmother.  When she gets there she discovers her Grandmother is gone...... How can that be?  This is her story. 


Authored by Meera Sriram
Illustrated by Meera Sethi

* Ages:  6-10
* Grade Level:  1-4
* Hardcover:  40 pages
* Publisher: Penny Candy Books
* Pub. Date:  March 12, 2019
* Language: English

Editorial Reviews

"In this beautifully bittersweet expression of love and loss, Asha mourns her grandma’s death while learning to treasure her life and memory. With two long braids, bright blue glasses, a cheerful collection of knee-high socks, and a grieving
heart, Asha travels from California to India to attend the funeral. The warmth of Indian culture is evident all around, from bold colors, patterns, and traditions to the patient understanding and support that the family shows each other as
they heal together."―Foreword Reviews, starred review

"This thoughtful picture book provides a rare and necessary perspective, free of tropes and clichés: that of the contemporary bicultural child whose heart is in two places, India and California. The focus on Asha’s feelings gives this book powerful bibliotherapeutic value, and the ending brings a gentle and satisfying resolution."―Amina Chaudhri, Booklist

Unwrapping Some Illustrations for You to Enjoy

My Take

Asha is a little girl from the US who flies to India with her parents to visit her grandmother.  Asha has packed her favourite yellow suitcase for the trip, one she usually fills  full of special gifts and treats to give to her grandmother on her arrival, just like she has so many times before. At the time of take-off she has not yet been informed that her grandmother has passed away.  

When the taxi pulls up in front of grandmother's home she is not waiting on the front porch like she alway does to greet them.  Wherever could she be wonders Asha?  

Once inside the house Asha finds relatives talking about her grandmother, the scent of jasmine flowers, incense smoke curling up, and a picture of her grandma hanging on the wall... oh my!  That's odd. Wherever could she be? 

It's then that Asha starts asking questions to her parents and tries to  ultimately processes the reality of death.  This heartfelt, tender book is about love, loss and dealing with raw emotions and grief.  Asha misses all the beautiful things that she and her beloved grandmother shared so lovingly together.  When the mourning period ends and her parents are ready to fly back home Asha discovers a hand-made treasure from her grandmother that was secretly packed inside her little yellow suitcase.  This gift is a labour of love and contains past memories for Asha to keep long into her future.  It is then that Asha knows that her grandmother although absent from this world will always be tucked inside her heart.  Always! 

The illustrations are bright and colourful and enrich the bittersweet message from the author.  This story shows that grieving over the loss of a loved one is universal.  I highly recommend this book.  

Storywrap Rating - 5 HUGS!!!!!

Meet the Author

Meera Sriram grew up in India and moved to the U.S. at the turn of the millennium. An electrical engineer in her past life, she now enjoys writing for children and advocating early and multicultural literacy. Meera has co-authored several books published in India. She believes in the transformative power of stories and writes on cross-cultural experiences that often take her back to her roots. Meera loves yoga and chai, and lives with her husband and two children in Berkeley, California.

About the Illustrator

Meera Sethi is a Canadian visual artist whose interdisciplinary practice encompasses a range of mediums to pose questions about the relationship between migration, diaspora, identity, and hybridity. Meera's work is in the permanent collection of the Royal Ontario Museum and the Wedge Collection and has been exhibited at the Art Gallery of Ontario, Art Gallery of Mississuaga, L'Oréal Melbourne Fashion Festival, among other national and international venues. She has been awarded multiple grants from the Toronto, Ontario, and Canada arts councils. Her work has been featured in NBC, NPR, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, The Fader, Vice, VOGUE India, CNN, MTV and numerous other print and online publications. Meera lives and works in Toronto.

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