Nana and Me
Age Range: 2 – 7 years
An “Honour Book” designation by the 2012 Children’s Africana Book Award jury.
One hundred Ghanaian children wrote about their grandmothers, and Kathy Knowles created this story from their words.
I like to watch Nana’s boiling pots.
Her food is always sweet.
She washes my uniform every Saturday.
I want to look neat when I go to school.
Having been a grandchild and now the grandfather of five grandchildren, I have experienced both sides of this special relationship that can exist between a child and an older adult, a relationship that is wonderfully showcased in Nana and Me. Prior to creating Nana and Me, Winnipegger Kathy Knowles asked “[o]ne hundred children from three libraries sponsored by the Osu Children’s Library Fund in Ghana, West Africa, [to write] about their grandmothers.” The children’s words and the common themes that emerged from their writings became the raw materials that Knowles utilized in creating this picture book’s brief text which follows the unnamed narrator and her grandmother [Nana] over a period of several years. The detailed, watercolour illustrations, by Edmund Opare, a Ghanian artist and illustrator, effectively capture the close bond between Nana and her granddaughter. A delightful feature of Opare’s art is his inclusion of a dog that appears in virtually every illustration.
Though Nana and Me‘s target audience is obviously Ghanian children, the book will not be out of place in Canadian school and public libraries as the book’s contents, despite their foreign setting, provide ample opportunities for North American readers to recognize the shared, universal experiences of grandparents and grandchildren, happenings such as the grandmother’s purchasing nonessential treats and responding pragmatically to a child’s material needs.
Sometimes Nana buys me toffees and
biscuits when she goes to the market.
She bought me a new school bag
because my old one was torn.
Early years classrooms could use Nana and Me as a model and could create their own “____ and Me” stories.
Dave Jenkinson, CM‘s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.