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Anna's Corn: 05/06/17
Anna's Corn by Barbara Santucci is a story about family, grief, and renewal. Anna is learning how to plant and harvest corn with her grandfather. He gives her a pouch of corn kernels that she can plant next year.
Before the next spring, grandpa dies and Anna doesn't want to go back to the cornfield. The field reminds her too much of him and the kernels are the last thing he ever gave her.
Anna's Corn is the opposite of "It's a Good Life" by Jerome Bixby. While both cornfields act as a barrier between life and death — and as a way to hold onto the past (either by holding onto the kernels, or by banishing / killing those who would change things), the cornfields are completely different. Bixby's cornfield is a prison, a thing to be feared. Santucci's is a reminder of family, of loved ones.
Anna comes to realize that the best way to keep grandpa's memory alive is to keep his cornfield alive. She must give up her last gift to let it grow into the next crop. From that she can harvest next year's kernels for planting — thus following in her grandpa's shoes.