It is no secret that I love picture books, I love them. Once in a while there will be a book that simply touches my heart, my all time favorite Love You Forever, by Robert Munsch. I once read a review of this book that described the sweet mother as smothering her child right up to adulthood. I find these types of reviews amusing. I can tell you exactly what I felt as a third grader when my favorite teacher Mrs. Cota, read this out-loud, and it had nothing to do with fearing that my mother would overprotect me. The book, made a knot in my throat, I loved the way Mrs. Cota, had put emotion into the narration.
I found a new favorite, Once Upon a Home Upon a Home, by Kenya Hirata and translated by Arthur Binard. The circumstances around the book… we are in Japan, to be closer to grandma as she battles cancer. Grandpa, is trying his best to help me and my girls find happiness in Japan. Once a week, he drives us to the library, the girls and I look forward to it all week. Grandpa, takes off to the young readers section with the baby. Yumi, and I get a whole uninterrupted hour together, which is probably why Yumi, loves the library so much. Yumi, and I will each pick several books and sit together to read them, she pulled this book from the shelf, and I began reading, having no synopsis, no previous knowledge of the story. Early in the story (spoiler alert)………………………………………………..
The grandfather of the story, reminisces of days he spent with grandma while she still lived. The book is beautifully illustrated, simply serene. There is a particular illustration, that I could not keep my eyes off of, grandmother is on her dying bed, the family is surrounding here and grandfather is holding her hand. You would think that this scene simply TRAUMATIZED Yumi, but no it didn’t. She was so absorb in the illustrations and the story, that she just accepted the facts and moved on. And then I realized, having NO concept of death when you are a child and loosing a dear loved one, THAT is traumatizing, thank you- Once Upon a Home Upon a Home- you put a knot in my throat and earned a spot in my heart.