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Book Review: Just Like Grandma by Kim Rogers

REVIEWER NAME: Amy Buckelew-Foster

REVIEW NOTE: Amy was a student review writer working with me at Portland State University in partnership with Teaching for Change's Social Justice Books (SJB) Project.

BOOK INFORMATION: Just Like Grandma by Kim Rogers, Illustrated by Julie Flett

RATING: 🟢Recommended


Just Like Grandma by Kim Rogers, Illustrated by Julie Flett

“Together they flutter like the most beautiful butterflies Grandpa has ever seen, until the sun dips below the tree line and he calls them in for fried chicken.”

-- Kim Rogers, Just Like Grandma

Just Like Grandma is a beautiful story of a multigenerational Native American family in a contemporary setting written by Kim Rogers, an enrolled member of Wichita and Affiliated Tribes. Becca, the main character, watches her grandma carry on Indigenous cultural traditions and wants to be “just like grandma.” Becca watches and participates as her grandma beads moccasins, dances barefoot in the grass twirling round and round, paints a sunset, and dances at a pow-wow. Grandma also wants to be just like Becca. Grandma watches Becca play basketball and cheers her on during tryouts as she makes the team. Together Becca and her Grandma share beading, dancing, painting, winning, playing, eating, and celebrating. Each evening they share meals together like corn soup, fried chicken, pancake dinner, beans and fry bread, to:kic, and pepperoni pizza.

The book’s illustrations, by Cree-Metis artist Julie Flett, are full of rich earth tones with bright accents of reds and oranges. Beautiful watercolor illustrations with flowing rhythms represent how grandma’s shawl moves, and you can feel the love and connection with family and community through the warm colors. And the author’s endnote, containing a glossary and personal stories that give background on the traditions described in the book, will inspire continued learning and curiosity.

Many stories that have been written about Indigenous people by non-Native authors emphasize the past. Unlike these stories, Just Like Grandma shines a light on the fact that Indigenous people are here today, blending past and present traditions and supporting the next generation into the future. This book shows how Native Americans live in today’s society in harmony with their community by sharing space at the pow-wow with anyone who wants to dance during the Intertribal and by sharing food like beans and frybread.

Just Like Grandma is a comforting and special story about positive elder role models in our life, and it reflects the Native American culture I see in my community and around the world. It is an honest, age-appropriate, relatable book that kids will enjoy reading again and again. I definitely recommend this story as a green light!

RESOURCES (add links to any outside research that you did)

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