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The Storybarn Selects… From The Reader Bookshelf

Written by Lily Kehoe, 27th April 2023

As we begin to explore this year's newly released Reader Bookshelf, we've asked members of our Children & Young People Team to talk about their favourite children's books from the collection.

This week, Storybarn Manager Natalia Rojas, shares her thoughts on Holding On by Sophia N. Lee.

What memories do you hold on to when you think about your family? For the little girl in this story she holds onto her Lola. Lola taught her to cook, introduced her to Dean Martin and Ella Fitzgerald, sang all the time and taught her the importance of remembering. There are many beautiful picture books out in this world but this one will crack you open. Holding On by Sophia N. Lee is a stunning, moving book about the connection between a little girl and her Grandma. The love between them is strong and the whole book is infused with how powerful music can be in bringing out memories and connecting people to one another.

The lessons she learns from her Lola have not only, undoubtedly shaped her sense of self and taught her how to move through the world but they also help her cope as her Lola starts to forget. Lola always says, “If you want to hang on, you gotta sing your songs.” So, that is exactly what the little girls does as her Lola’s memories start to fade. She sings and remembers for the both of them.

This book is joyous, bittersweet and thoughtfully written. A great choice to read with little ones who might be experiencing this type of loss but also for children, in general to share their own memories, traditions, or rituals of their loved ones. It just might make you cry but ultimately will fill you up with love.

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