About the Book
Title: GG and Mamela | Author: Belinda Brock | Illustrator: Avi Katz | Publication Date: April 15, 2014 | Publisher: Lamb Press | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 10
Summary: This picture book celebrates the loving relationship between Lily and her great-grandmother (GG) as her life starts to slow and wind down in hospice. GG and Mamela illustrates how strength and comfort can be found through love, family and tradition. This book offers a gentle and open-ended way to start a conversation about death and dying, as well as introduce the concept of hospice care. The talented, award-winning artist, Avi Katz, provides beautifully-rendered illustrations that perfectly complement this heartwarming story. The book concludes with GG’s recipe for chicken soup and an afterword by clinical psychologist Dr. Laura Brock.
I was intrigued by this book when I heard what it was about: a story to make it easier to explain children about hospice care for the elderly. My daughter went to a shared-care facility with preschoolers and elderly people in need of daycare, as both children and elderly benefit greatly by the interaction. Despite this, when her Great-Great Uncle passed last year (he was our closest relative), it was a very sad and distraught time for her.
I read the book and re-read it… thinking whether to read it to my 5 year-old. I didn’t want to bring back memories from her Great-Great Uncle’s passing again, as every time his name is mentioned she breaks down in tears. After the second reading I asked her if she’d be interested in reading about a very beautiful story, but that it might make her feel very sad. She said she would.
We sat down and read the story, looking at the beautiful and colorful watercolor paintings that illustrate it. She asked several questions, and enjoyed the story very much. She did not cry at all, and her main concern at the end was understanding why the Great-Grandmother would call the little girl Mamela, when her name was Lily (we don’t like her calling people names, so she didn’t get why she was not using her name…). A few days later she said something that made me feel the overall message of the book had hit home: “You know? All my ancestors that passed, like my Great-Great Uncle, or my Great-Grand Fathers, I will never stop loving them, and they will always love me.”
So, to summarize, I think “GG and Mamela” is a very sweet book with a lot of heart and beautiful illustrations. I do recommend it very much, specially if you need a way to explain to younger children about elderly care and grieving.
Also, the book includes the recipe for GG’s chicken soup, which the author has graciously let me post here for everyone to enjoy!
- 1 whole chicken (preferably *kosher or Amish)
- 3 large carrots, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 large celery stalks with leaves, chopped
- A whole, peeled sweet potato (the secret ingredient)
- 1 parsnip, peeled and cut into one-inch chunks (looks like a white carrot)
- Fresh dill, chopped (looks like green feathers)
- Fresh parsley, chopped
- Kosher salt
- White pepper
- 1 package of fine egg noodles
- Rinse the chicken well (inside and out) under cool, running water.
- Put the chicken in the pot, cover with water and bring to a light boil.
- Skim the foam off the top with a wide spoon and discard.
- Stir the soup occasionally.
- Once the bubbles have become white, lower the heat to a gentle simmer.
- Add the vegetables and seasonings and simmer, half-covered, for about 1 1/2 hours or until vegetables are tender.
- Remove the chicken. If using chicken in the soup, skin the pieces, cool and cut into bite-sized pieces and refrigerate.
- Pour the soup through a strainer to get a clear broth.
- Cut up the sweet potato. Refrigerate the vegetables.
- Cool the soup and refrigerate overnight.
- When You Want to Serve It
- Remove and discard the fat that has hardened on the surface.
- Reheat the soup with the vegetables. You can add the cooked chicken to the soup now.
- Taste the soup to see if it needs more salt.
- Cook the noodles by following the directions on the bag (do not cook them in the soup). Drain well.
- Spoon a helping of noodles in each soup bowl and then ladle in the hot soup.
- Sprinkle some parsley and dill in each bowl.
- *If you use a kosher chicken, which is salted, you will not need to be as generous with the salt.
The Early Buzz
“…simple but emotionally resonant illustrations…a nice, true-to-life touch…The book pairs an ethereal illustration with lyrical text, which truly captures the healing, transporting power of music in this setting. A welcome addition to children’s literature about death and dying.” ~ Kirkus Reviews
“This book is beautifully written and illustrated. The author takes a difficult subject and weaves a story full of life lessons. The universal themes of life, death, family, loss,and chicken soup are shared through a child’s eyes and remind us that even after one dies, love remains.” ~ Jamie O’Malley, President and CEO, Midwest Palliative and Hospice CareCenter
“GG and Mamela is a large helping of Chicken Soup for the heart and soul. It helps children cope with the death of a loved one in gentle and understanding terms. Belinda Brock has done a great service for children and parents alike.” ~ Rabbi Evan Moffic, Spiritual Leader of Congregation Solel and Author
“This is a WONDERFUL story for families who are grappling with loss, death and dying. This is a wonderful story about a special relationship between a girl and her great grandmother at the end of her beautiful life. Very moving story, perfect for children!!” ~ 5 Star Review, Laura, Goodreads
About the Author: Belinda Brock
Currently a writing coach and free-lance editor, Belinda Brock‘s background is in teaching and educational publishing. She loves the intersection of literature and art found in picture books and believes their appeal and benefit extend beyond childhood. She also enjoys farmers’ markets, dreaming up soup recipes and Meatless Mondays. Although she didn’t become a librarian as she once considered, she is the sponsor and steward of the Little Free Library in her city. She has been known to stay up past her bedtime reading. Belinda writes about literacy, children and books on her blog–grandbooking–at http://belindabrock.com and also at Highland Park Sun-Times where you can check out this great interview with Belinda.
GG and Mamela Blog Tour Schedule (2014)
* Blog Tour Giveaway *
Prize: $50 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)
Contest ends: June 6, 11:59 pm, 2014
How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Belinda Brock and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.