A young girl goes back to India to visit her grandmother’s house after her death.
Debut author Sriram shares a poignant story based on her daughter’s personal experience. Young Asha travels with her family from the United States to her grandma’s house in India, towing her favorite yellow suitcase. Everything looks familiar in India, except her grandma is not there. But the house is full of other people, both relatives and people she doesn’t recognize, and they’re all talking about Grandma. Asha reminisces how she always carried gifts for her grandma in her yellow suitcase and how her grandma always showered her with gifts to carry back to America. When she asks her father if she’ll ever see her grandma again, he cries. Asha doesn’t quite know how to deal with her grandmother’s death and responds with aloof moodiness. Two weeks go by, and just as she is about to leave India, she realizes her grandmother left behind a special surprise for her. This immigrant narrative beautifully captures the emotions of loss, love, and belonging that the little girl experiences, embedding readers in Asha’s developmentally spot-on perspective. The illustrations, done in a pastel palette and flat perspective, reveal authentic snapshots of India, though the characters feel stiff at times, which may limit their appeal.
A thoughtful story that artfully addresses the loss of a grandparent from an immigrant perspective. (Picture book. 5-8)