In Sharon Dennis Wyeth's family these moments were marked with the passing on of the Granddaughter Necklace: not a fancy piece of jewelry, but a precious one, worn smooth by the touch of mothers and grandmothers, each with her own story to tell.
With a historical sweep that reaches back to Ireland and to Africa, and an intimacy that resides in every family's treasured stories, Wyeth tells the tale of one family's journey from the old world to the new, from the past to the present, and from mother to daughter.
Here's a book that we feel will be passed on from generation to generation too, read in laps and in groups, opening conversations about our own necklaces of memory.
- ISBN-13: 9780545081252
- ISBN-10: 0545081254
- Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
- Publish Date: January 2013
- Page Count: 32
- Reading Level: Ages 4-8
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Wyeth (Something Beautiful) draws from her own family’s history as she traces a line of women back to the arrival in America of an Irish ancestor, telling stories along the way of separation, deprivation, tragedy, and—eventually—ascendancy to a comfortable middle-class life. The titular necklace of crystal beads, passed down from mothers to daughters, becomes the manifestation of female family ties: “This necklace says you’re one of us... and forever loved.” Children are naturally fascinated by their families’ backstories, and Wyeth’s story certainly feeds a sense of connectivity and belonging through the generations. Surprisingly, her narrator never mentions what is clear from Ibatoulline’s (The Third Gift) warmly lit, beautifully detailed acrylic-gouache scenes: this has been an interracial family for generations. Perhaps Wyeth feared this would derail her conceit (she does address it at length in an author’s note) or assumed that children in a “post-racial” society would not find it remarkable. But it certainly gives the necklace an even greater emotional significance as a touchstone for familial solidarity and resilience. Ages 4–8. Illustrator’s agent: Nancy Gallt Literary Agency. (Jan.)