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Ghost Wings

Set in Mexico amidst the monarch butterflies’ annual migration and during the Days of the Dead, Ghost Wings, written by Barbara M. Joosse, author of the best-selling Mama, Do You Love Me?, and illustrated with the luminescent artwork of Giselle Potter, is the touching story of a little girl whose very best friend is her grandmother. But one spring, Grandmother becomes thin as smoke. When she dies, Papa says, “When you love someone they never really leave.” But to the little girl, Grandmother seems impossibly far away. Who will sing to her? Who will chase the monsters from under her bed? Then, during the Days of the Dead, something extraordinary happens that brings Papa’s words vividly to life. Ideal for one-on-one sharing as well as a group discussion, Ghost Wings’ poignant message of the endurance of love and the power of memory is sure to linger long after the book is closed. A discussion guide is included.Shortly before her death, a little Mexican’s girl’s grandmother (who is also her best friend) takes her to the Magic Circle of oyamel fir trees to say goodbye to the monarch butterflies as they prepare for their migration north. Even after a butterfly that has landed on the girl’s arm flies away, her arm still tickles. “That’s because they carry the souls of the old ones, and the old ones never really leave,” Grandmother says. After Grandmother dies, all the sad little girl can think about is that her arm doesn’t feel the tickle anymore, and her grandmother‘s scent of cornmeal and roses is fading as well. It’s not until the season for the Days of the Dead, the time to remember the old ones, that the girl discovers the truth of her beloved grandmother‘s words.

Giselle Potter, illustrator of Kate and the Beanstalk and other intriguing picture books, applies her unique, naive artistic style in muted earth tones to Barbara M. Joosse’s narrative: the oval-faced grandmother and granddaughter work tortilla dough together, hold hands under the butterfly-covered trees, and keep the imaginary nighttime monsters at bay. Joosse’s poetic tale celebrates the magic of remembrance in a way that will speak to every child who has loved–and lost–someone special. Details about the legendary 2,000-mile migration of monarch butterflies and about the Mexican Days of the Dead add an exotic twist to this delicate, touching story. Joosse is the author of many wonderful books for children, including the award-winning Mama, Do You Love Me?. (Ages 5 to 8) –Emilie Coulter

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3 Responses

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  1. Darcy Romondo says

    Remembering Grandmother 0

  2. Tina says

    Beautiful story and illustrations 0

  3. Juniper Nichols says

    Excellent for Dia de los Muertos and the death topic in general 0

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