What are my kids and I reading this January, 2023?

Happy New Year readers! I hope you are all enjoying the perfect season for snuggling down with a good book.

Today I am going to share with you a lovely picture book called ILL GO AND COME BACK written by Rajani LaRocca and illustrated by Sara Palacios. This book really resonated with my kids and I as we live in two very different worlds every year – Singapore in South East Asia and the UK, when we visit home. This transient life is a huge blessing and one that affords my family and I a world of experiences each year we are truly grateful for. But with this constant movement it can lead to unsettling emotions at times.

These feelings are shared with the main character in the story when Jyoti travels halfway around the world to visit her grandmother in India. At first she feels lost, confused by the cultural differences between home and India and a little overwhelmed. From our few years living in India, I can share that these feelings are very real and very powerful when they first impact, but like Jyoti they soon disappear and normalise and the vibrancy of a new culture becomes very quickly enlivening and magical.

Quickly Jyoti forms a special bond with Sita Pati, her grandmother, shopping, playing games and eating chapatis. When it is finally time to leave Jyoti is reminded that the Tamil people don’t say goodbye, but something extra special, “I’ll go and come back.”

The second half of the book takes place with Sita Pati visiting her granddaughter Jyoti in America. Soon we see the transition through a different pair of eyes and different set of emotions. Now it is time for Jyoti to show her grandmother around and teach her all she loves about her home.

This book not only celebrates diversity, but also the magical bonds shared between our elders and our children. There is so much to love about this story and the heart in it is strong and very real. I would recommend this for any library, school or child aged between 3-7 years. The writing is simple and the story arc clear and uncomplicated but there are great discussions to be had throughout and the illustrations are divine!

Earthy colours of saffron, okra and chilli red infuse the story with colours of India and shine a different light when they are in America, just as beautiful. Highly recommend!

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