Why "The Search for..."?

I got my title from the book The Search for Delicious by Natalie Babbitt. where there is a wonderful quote--

" 'Of course it's silly,' said the Prime Minister impatiently. 'But a lot of serious things start silly.'"

This particular quote stuck out for me as I was reading The Search for Delicious to my kids this past fall, and I put it aside knowing that I would use it somewhere, sometime. It seems like the perfect subtitle to this blog as many of my musing probably are silly, but may turn serious at any moment!

Friday, August 10, 2012

PB Grandfather's Journey

Allen Say's Grandfather's Journey won the Caldecott Medal in 1994.  I love this book particularly because I identify with the grandfather who, by book's end, always feels homesick for somewhere.  When he is in the United States, he misses Japan.  When he is in Japan, he misses the United States.  I really get that.  After spending much of my adult life moving, I have found that sounds, smells and images can often make me "homesick" for somewhere else I have been.  When I'm in Rhode Island, I miss the mountains.  But, when I've lived in the mountains, I missed the ocean.  When I lived in England, I missed the United States, but watching the Olympic coverage makes me long for England.  Whispering pine trees and rainbows transport me to Germany, an extremely hot day makes me long for the cooling water of Barton Springs in Austin, and a perfectly ripe peach takes me to Georgia.  Yup, I "get" what grandfather is saying.  

I can see using this book as a way of beginning a discussion of immigration even though grandfather is not what we think of when we think of the typical immigrant to the United States.  In the first pages of the story, students would have to infer that grandfather is quite wealthy, and this is something that I would use as a topic of discussion.  He doesn't really come to the United States as the "tired, poor, huddled masses yearning to be free" that we think of when we think of immigration at the turn of the twentieth century. He comes as a tourist who settles.  How would that change his perception of America?  How many first generation American immigrants would produce a book that is such a lovely tribute to the beauty of a bygone American era?  No tenement buildings here.    

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