I Love My Glam-Ma – Samantha Berger and Sujean Rim, Orchard Books, 2019
This is a bright and fashionable ode to grandmas, but it is also tender and reassuring. The grandmas lovingly described and jauntily portrayed by Samantha Berger and Sujean Rim are one hundred percent supportive of the grandchildren who love them. Whether pulling the children in wagons, or rolling along with them in a wheelchair, these women are in charge where it counts: making blankets into reading forts, cooking without a recipe, emptying an enormous purse full of treasures. I have added it to my list of favorite picture books about grandparents, along with Vanessa Brantley-Newton’s Grandma’s Purse, and Drawn Together, by Minh Lê and Dan Santat.
Maybe you are worried, if you are a grandma, or perhaps go by one of the other titles listed in a two-page spread of portraits: Yaya, Abuela, Mom-Mom, Oma, or Bubbe (me). Maybe you would prefer to be more understated, less flashy, not the glam-ma who chooses not to just arrive, but to “make a grand entrance.” Maybe you don’t wear a lot of makeup or perfume. Don’t worry. Those are only the external attributes of grandmotherhood extolled in this book.
The more important qualities are making your grandchildren feel like unique individuals worthy of every moment of your time. Some of that time might involve activities like sipping juice from a coconut while wearing a flower in your hair and a lei, but others are as simple as letting your granddaughter apply lipstick to your lips and the general area of your face. (Both the grandma and the granddaughter wear glasses, and the grandma has stylish gray hair.) My favorite image is the serenely quiet one of a child asleep on her grandmother’s lap in a rocking chair. It doesn’t get better than that.
The text is simple, repeating to children on each page how they are the “guest of honor” in their grandmothers’ life. The pictures are colorful and bright, alluding to older images of femininity but updating them with a broad range of roles, and multicultural characters. Whether or not the grandmothers you know build sandcastles at the beach, or keep a bottle of classic scent with them at all times (GM No. 75), they, and the grandchildren who are at the center of their lives, might recognize themselves in the pages of this lovely book.
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