Sunday, September 3, 2023

Today's read... Grandma's Window by Janet Halfmann

by Janet Halfmann
Illustrated by Christy Tortland
Brandylane Publishers
Picture Book
32 pages
ages 4 to 8


Every day on the bus to school, new student Mateo stares out the window, wishing he had a friend to talk to . . . until one morning, when he spots something surprising in an apartment window—an older woman is smiling and waving to the bus!

For the next few weeks, Mateo and his bus mates wave to the lady they lovingly nickname “Grandma,” and she always waves back. But one day, Grandma is missing from her window, and she’s not there the next day, either. Mateo and his bus mates must work together to find Grandma and make sure she’s safe and happy.

Grandma’s Window is a story of friendship and kindness that shows us that, no matter how young or old you are, the best way to bring joy into your life is to give it to others.

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Kindness and empathy ring strong in a tale, which shows how friendship can span generations.

Mateo is a little bit lonely. No one talks to him or sits with him on the bus to and from school. One day, he thinks he sees a hand moving in one of the windows of apartments as the bus drives past. The next day, he sees that it's an elderly woman waving and asks the other kids on the bus to wave back at her with him. This not only starts a daily ritual but has others talking to him. That's until the woman suddenly is no longer there. But there may be a way to continue the act of friendliness and have that even grow from there.

This is a touching tale which shows how a small act of friendliness can lead to so much more. While the beginning shows Mateo's struggles with connecting with others and how that changes, the book then continues into the deeper theme of elderly individuals moving into retirement homes. Mateo and the other kids get some assistance from their bus driver, adding a nice touch, but of course, this isn't as important as Mateo and the others visiting the woman in the home. It demonstrates how wonderful it can be to make the extra effort and reach out to others. Plus, this takes the unease that often comes with visits to these homes and demonstrates how the personal connection changes everything.

The tale makes a nice read-aloud and is a great way to lead into a trip to a retirement home. The story flows well and connects with readers on a personal level. The illustrations have an original color tone, and this works nicely with the story as well. It's a well-done read with a warming message.

And here she is...

Janet Halfmann is a multi-award-winning children’s author who strives to make her books come alive for young readers and listeners. Many of her picture books are about animals and nature. She also writes picture book biographies about little-known people of achievement. Recent titles by Janet include How Can We Be Kind?: Wisdom from the Animal Kingdom; Caterpillar's Surprise; Yay for Big Brothers!; Who Is Singing?; The Clothesline Code; A Bobby-Dazzler of a Pouch!; The Story of Civil War Hero Robert Smalls (Chapter Book for Grades 3-7); Midnight Teacher: Lilly Ann Granderson and Her Secret School; Grandma Is a Slowpoke; Animal Teachers; Eggs 1, 2, 3: Who Will the Babies Be?; Home in the Cave; Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish; Good Night, Little Sea Otter; Fur and Feathers; Little Skink's Tail; and Seven Miles to Freedom: The Robert Smalls Story. Janet has written almost fifty fiction and nonfiction books for children.

Before becoming a children’s author, Janet was a daily newspaper reporter, children’s magazine editor, and a creator of coloring and activity books for Golden Books. She is the mother of four and the grandmother of six. When Janet isn’t writing, she enjoys gardening, exploring nature, visiting living-history museums, and spending time with her family. She grew up on a farm in Michigan and now lives in South Milwaukee, WI. Find out more about Janet and her books at:

1 comment:

Janet Halfmann said...

Thanks so much for this lovely review of GRANDMA'S WINDOW. I love your suggestion of reading it before a visit to a retirement home. Happy Reading to kids and grandparents everywhere!