A child’s joy on a snowy day finally helps her mother feel at home in their new country
A little girl and her mother walk home from school on a snowy winter day.
“So much snow,” says Ma. “So monochromatic.”
“Mono crow what?” her daughter replies.
Ma misses the sun, warmth and colors of their faraway homeland, but her daughter sees magic in everything — the clouds in the winter sky, the “firework” display when she throws an armful of snow into the air, making snow angels, tasting snowflakes. And in the end, her joy is contagious. Home is where family is, after all.
This gently layered, beautifully illustrated story unfolds as a conversation between a mother and daughter and will resonate with readers across generations.
Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.
Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.
Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a print or digital text to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, distinguishing literal from nonliteral language.
Explain how specific aspects of a text's illustrations contribute to what is conveyed by the words in a story (e.g., create mood, emphasize aspects of a character or setting)
>Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.
Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text, including how characters in a story or drama respond to challenges or how the speaker in a poem reflects upon a topic; summarize the text.
Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
Describe how a narrator's or speaker's point of view influences how events are described.
Saumiya Balasubramaniam’s debut picture book, When I Found Grandma, illustrated by Qin Leng, was featured in the Globe and Mail (“Seven books to help kids make sense of the world”) and by the CBC (“Kids books to look for in 2019”). It was described by Publishers Weekly as a “subtle, heartfelt story.” Saumiya lives in Toronto.
Eva Campbell is an artist and illustrator who teaches visual art. She has exhibited her work in Canada, the US, the UK, Barbados and Ghana. Eva won the Children’s Africana Book Award for her illustrations in The Matatu by Eric Walters. She also illustrated Africville by Shauntay Grant, winner of the Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award and the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration, and a Governor General’s Literary Award finalist. Eva lives in Victoria.
Praise for author Saumiya Balasubramaniamand illustrator Eva Campbell and Two Drops of Brown in a Cloud of White:
“An excellent addition to library story-reading programs, especially those which welcome minority parents. This story will definitely encourage some meaningful reflections and thought-provoking conversations.” — CM Review of Materials
Praise for author Saumiya Balasubramaniam and illustrator Qin Leng for When I Found Grandma:
“Discovering and embracing differences leads to stronger bonds between family members, Balasubramaniam asserts in this subtle, heartfelt story.” — Publishers Weekly
“Balasubramaniam’s honest first-person text and Leng’s soft line-and-color illustrations — which deftly and sympathetically convey the intensity of Maya’s feelings — explore familial love and the intricacies of cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships between very young children and their grandparents.” — Kirkus Reviews
“This gently moving story explores cross-cultural connections in a deeply meaningful way and Leng’s ink and watercolour illustrations wonderfully extend the story.” — Globe and Mail
Praise for author Shauntay Grant and illustrator Eva Campbell for Africville:
“This story celebrates the beauty and joy of the community seen through a child’s eyes. … There is both pride and longing expressed in the lyrical text, and the vibrant colors and friendly compositions of the oil and pastel illustrations immerse readers in this community.” — School Library Journal, starred review
“Visually, Africville is gorgeous. Eva Campbell’s illustrations are arresting; the colours are warm and inviting, and her painterly style enhances the dreamlike quality of the story.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
“Through the poem, readers visit this sparkling seaside community …. Grant’s evocative descriptions are perfectly matched in tone and timbre with Campbell’s vibrant oil-and-pastel renderings of the town and its residents.” — Booklist