Zura loves her grandmother, Nana Akua, more than anyone else in the world. Though Nana Akua is short in stature, in Zura’s eyes her grandmother “seems as tall as the giant playground slide. Maybe that’s because she’s filled to the brim with stories about growing up in West Africa.”
Zura’s kindergarten class is preparing for Grandparents Day. All the children are excited, but Zura is worried. A few times when Zura was in public with Nana Akua, people made unkind comments or stared at her because of the tribal markings on Nana Akua’s face. When she was a child in Ghana, her parents had followed an old African tradition and put marks on her face to identify the tribe she belonged to and to represent beauty and confidence.
When Nana Akua asks Zura why she’s so sad about Grandparents Day, Zura says she’s afraid that someone will act mean or laugh at Nana Akua. Gently and wisely, Nana Akua offers a simple, creative way forward and Zura agrees to it. When the special day arrives, Nana Akua wins the hearts of Zura’s peers and their families and Zura glows with joy, all her fear dispelled.
Author Tricia Elam Walker’s sensitive, reflective narrative celebrates diversity within community, and illustrator April Harrison’s tender, emotive artwork conveys the richness of African culture within a North American context and reveals the deep love that binds together a child and her grandmother. (Schwartz & Wade)