Allen & Unwin, 2019
32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
Grandpa, did you know that if you rub a needle with a magnet, one end will point to the north and the other end to the south? In the south there’s an apartment building 160 metres tall. From the balcony, you can see the entire city. There are cinemas and ice cream shops … and me!
Henry and his Grandpa have been separated by 2003 km by Henry’s move south and in a series of letters between them, they explore just how far that distance is, with each one bringing them closer metaphorically, if not literally. Then one day, Henry gets a big surprise.
The bond between grandparent and grandchild is often a very special and unique one, and physical separation is a phenomenon of the modern world and its nuclear family. Despite technology, there is nothing like the arms of each around each other, and any grandparent will understand the need for a ‘grandma fix’. I need them regularly, particularly now things like school and Scouts and sport have taken over the flying weekend visits!
Beautifully illustrated to both enrich and enhance the story, this is one that can help children understand family structures as well as explore the bonds they have with special family members, perhaps even inspire a connection again.