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Cultures collide, and blend, in When I Found Grandma

When I Found Grandma, by Saumiya Balasubramaniam/Illustrated by Qin Leng, (March 2019, Groundwood Books), $17.95, ISBN: 9781773060187

Ages 5-8

Maya is an Indian girl living in America with her family. She’s thrilled when her Grandma arrives from India for a visit, but she quickly finds things that rub her the wrong way. She doesn’t want Grandma to call her by her full name, Mayalakshmi, and she wishes Grandma didn’t wear her sari and noisy bangle bracelets when she pops in for a visit to Maya’s classroom. She isn’t crazy about the food Grandma makes, and she really, really doesn’t like her family’s decision to celebrate the Holi festival by visiting a temple so Grandma can pray, rather than go for their planned trip to a fair. But it turns out that when Maya needs help, Grandma’s the first one on the scene.

Two generations work things out together in this sweet, authentic story about a grandmother and granddaughter; it’s a cultural and inter-generational story of understanding, compromise, and, above all, love. The story text will resonate with kids and adults alike, and opens so many avenues for discussion between generations and cultures. The soft ink and watercolor artwork reflects emotions touched on the book; namely, familial love. The cover is a beautiful expression of intimacy and affection between grandmother and grandchild; something ever-present in both the text and artwork.

In a library system as diverse as mine, this is a must-add to collections. In less diverse areas, it’s an important book for generating understanding and respect for other cultures and how we look at our elders.




I'm a mom, a children's librarian, bibliophile, and obsessive knitter. I'm a pop culture junkie and a proud nerd, and favorite reads usually fall into Sci-Fi/Fantasy. I review comics and graphic novels at WhatchaReading ( I'm also the co-founder of On Wednesdays We Wear Capes (, where I discuss pop culture and geek fandom from a female point of view.

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