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2013 Award
The Granddaughter Necklace
( by Sharon Dennis Wyeth/ illus. Bagram Ibatoulline, Scholastic $16.99 Score: )

Such a charming family story to share and perhaps inspire a new story for your own. It begins with a girl leaving Ireland with the gift of a necklace from her mother. It is passed from one generation of granddaughters to the next as each faces some milestone or challenge of growing up. Adding to the mystery here is that fact that when the beads originally leave Ireland we do not see the girl's face or her mother's. Yet the mothers and daughters throughout the story appear to be women of color. For young readers/listeners of 2013, it is not apparent that they will have a preconceived notion of what the Irish immigrant girl would have looked like. It is not until the author's note that we learn that her Irish ancestor married a free black man when she arrived in America. For many children of the 21st century, the multi-racial images of the book are likely to be unnoticed. The warmth of the story itself, of the love that is passed with those beads is what makes this not so much a black history book as a warm and moving universal book to be shared and savored. 7 & up.

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