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Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs: 07/21/13

cover art

Nana Upstairs and Nana Downstairs by Tomie dePaola is about a boy who is close to his grandmother ("Nana downstairs") and his great-grandmother ("Nana upstairs").

Tommy likes to eat lunch with Nana upstairs and listen to her stories. She's very old and very frail and one day she dies. Tommy has to come to terms with losing Nana Upstairs and how his life will change now that there is just one Nana.

The book is a very gentle but matter of fact approach to the temporary nature of life and the ever changing aspects of families. The book ends with a brief glimpse at Tommy all grown up to see how he and his family has changed.

The book brought back memories of the routine my grandmother and I had when I was little. We would frequently go to Norwalk to visit my great grandmother who was too ill to live at home any more. We would visit her first and then go on the rounds to visit her friends. There was a lady who would always save her banana for me and another one who made dogs out yarn tied to frames made from bent coat hangers.

And then when I was about seven we stopped going because my great grandmother had died. Now I'm grown up, have my children and my grandmother has passed away too.

Four stars

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