Here, two books I just reviewed for the Mill Valley Public Library that turned out to be amazingly similar.
This Is the Rope, by Jacqueline Woodson. Illustrated by James Ransome.
Celebrated poet and writer Jacqueline Woodson’s latest picture book displays her trademark lyricism and eloquence as she spins a compelling, generation-spanning yarn. The subtitle is “A Story from the Great Migration,” and the story follows a young African American couple who move from the Deep South to Brooklyn in the 1970s, for a better life. The motif of a rope weaves the anecdotes together as we follow the young family through the years. The rope that they used to tie their belongings to the top of the car for the long drive becomes a laundry rope for their baby’s diapers, and then a string to pull a toy duck, and then a jump rope, and so on up through the present. When the book ends, that young couple, now elderly, sits on their Brooklyn stoop watching their granddaughter jump rope and sing, a new generation tied to the past and looking to the future. It’s a wonderful celebration of family, history, and love, and parents can use it to begin more serious discussions about race, tolerance, and immigration. Ages 4-8
This Is Our House, by Hyewon Yum. Coincidentally, this lovely book shares a great deal with This is the Rope. Both books begin each spread with the phrase “This is the…” Both tell the story of three generations living in the same home–in both cases, a charming Brooklyn (or Brooklyn lookalike) brownstone. Both start with a couple moving into their new home and end with an image of the extended family in front of the house, in the present day. Both are poignant and may cause you, the parent reading aloud, to surreptitiously wipe away a tear. This Is Our House, though, exudes a cozier vibe, with no serious subtext. Gentle watercolors depict a baby learning to walk, a favorite tree blooming, kids running down a stairway lined with family photos, and other sweet moments in the family’s history. Ages 4-8