Thursday, March 8, 2012

Recommended Picture Book: Blackberry Stew by Isabell Monk

Title: Blackberry Stew

Author: Isabell Monk

Publisher: Carolrhoda Books/Lerner Publishing Group, April 2005

Suitable for: 5 - 8 years

Themes/Topics: Loss and Grief, Grandfathers, Memories, Over-coming Fears

Grandpa Jack had passed away. Aunt Poogee and I sat on her wraparound porch, all dressed up. We watched as our family and friends arrived at the church up on the hill for his funeral.
Brief synopsis:
Hope is sad that her Grandpa Jack has passed away.  She does not want to go to the funeral because she does not want to say goodbye and lose her grandfather forever. She and Aunt Poogee sit on the porch and share one of their favorite memories of Grandpa Jack, blackberry picking. Hope learns one of life’s most important lessons. She realizes that as long as she has her memories, Grandpa Jack will live on inside of her, and she will never have to say good-bye.

Links to resources:
Learn about berry facts and tips for picking here.  
Coloring Pages here and here.
Learn about garter snakes here and here.
A variety of snake learning activities can be found here
There is a recipe for blackberry stew at the end of the book.

Why I like this book:
This heart-warming story emphasizes the importance of family, love and memories. I love the warmth and feel of the story. The reader is taken into the past as Hope remembers her grandpa. I really felt the emotions she was feeling, her grief, fear, relief and happiness. I loved the illustrations. They lent a warm and touching extension to the text. Any child who is grieving the loss of a beloved grandparent will find solace in knowing that they will never truly lose them as long as they keep their memories alive. But I also think it is important for parents and adults to help children keep those memories alive. J

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