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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
My Grandma's Photos
by Ozge Bahar Sunar
Age Range: 6-8
Ali’s grandma is very frail; she doesn’t hear or see very well and she gets very confused and often cannot remember things. But Ali likes to spend time with his grandmother and when his mum gives him some of Grandma’s old photographs, he sits with her trying to work out who is in the black and white pictures.
At first, Grandma doesn’t seem to remember or recognise her younger self – “At that moment I felt as if I were being pulled into the photo. Together with Grandma, I travelled into the past.” – but gradually with a little help from Ali, she is soon taking him on a journey through her life. Ali meets Grandma at different ages, watches her grow up, own her own business and get married. She shows Ali the importance of making and sharing beautiful memories that will live on long after the ones we love are gone.
Turkish author Özge Bahar Sunar’s lovely gentle picture book, translated by Amy Marie Spangler, is about creating memories across the generations – for Ali’s grandma whose memory is fading and for Ali, the narrator of the story, who now has new memories to treasure as he learns to let go of a loved one.
The evocative illustrations by Senta Urgan with their smudgy charcoal and coloured pencils together with some collage and the striking use of real sepia and black and white photographs from the author and illustrator give this book a lovely feel.