Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 6 to 8
- Grade: 1 to 3
- Reading age: 6 to 8
Every morning, a young girl walks her grandmother to the Aajibaichi Shala, the school that was built for the grandmothers in her village to have a place to learn to read and write. The narrator beams with pride as she drops her grandmother off with the other aajis to practice the alphabet and learn simple arithmetic. A moving story about family, women and the power of education—when Aaji learns to spell her name you’ll want to dance along with her.
Women in countless countries continue to endure the limitations of illiteracy. Unjust laws have suppressed the rights of girls and women and kept many from getting an education and equal standing in society. Based on a true story from the village of Phangane, India, this brilliantly illustrated book tells the story of the grandmothers who got to go to school for the first time in their lives.
About the authors
Rina Singh has published several critically acclaimed books for children inspired by her Indian Canadian heritage, including Diwali Lights, Holi Colors and Diwali: A Festival of Lights, which was nominated for the Red Cedar Award. Rina’s own grandmother never got the chance to go to school. Grandmother School is dedicated to her memory. Rina lives in Toronto with her family.
Ellen Rooney is an award-winning designer, artist and children’s book illustrator. Her textural mixed media artwork combines many traditional art techniques, like pencil drawing, painting, printmaking and collage, often combined with digital techniques. She is the winner of the 2021 Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize for Grandmother School. Originally from Massachusetts, she now lives in the southern Okanagan Valley in British Columbia.
Kirstie Hudson is an editor and writer in Victoria, British Columbia. She was a reporter and producer with the CBC in Toronto, Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Victoria. In her award-winning career as a journalist, Kirstie's work was recognized with a Jack Webster Award, Radio Television Digital News Association Awards and a Gabriel Award. As an instructor at the University of Victoria and Royal Roads University, Kirstie shared her love of storytelling with students in writing, communications and journalism. She co-authored Picking Up the Pieces: Residential School Memories and the Making of The Witness Blanket with Carey Newman. In 2020, the book was a finalist for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and the Norma Fleck Award for Canadian Children’s Nonfiction.
- Winner, BC and Yukon Book Prizes, Christie Harris Illustrated Children's Literature Prize