BookDragon Books for the Diverse Reader

Seaside Dream by Janet Costa Bates, illustrated by Lambert Davis

Seaside DreamsFamily and friends from all over are arriving to celebrate Grandma’s 70th birthday. Together they gather to eat and laugh … Uncle Manny say kachupa, Aunt Celia insists it’s munchupa – both are right in describing the national dish of Cape Verde.

Because she lives right next door to Grandma, Cora feels “luckiest of all.” She gets to see Grandma every day. She feels especially grateful for their walks on the beach … time she gets Grandma all to herself.

As Cora takes a quiet break on the back porch from the noisy kitchen filled with celebrating family, Grandma soon comes out to join her, and the two set out hand-in-hand towards the beckoning water. Grandma tells Cora of her sister, who still lives on the other side of the ocean in Cape Verde, off the coast of Africa.

Grandma left behind starvation and deprivation almost 40 years ago; her sister Aura stayed, and they have not seen one another since. They promised that they would “send each other as many mantenhas as there were stars” – messages that bound two people together, that said “‘… though you are far away, I want to keep you in my life.'”

That night, Cora dreams of the great-aunt she’s never met … who helps Cora find the very best birthday gift for Grandma.

Based on the life of her own grandmother, author Janet Costa Bates‘ debut title is a touching tale about the sometimes bittersweet immigration journey. While Grandma’s family finally had enough to eat as new Americans, they never forgot their faraway homeland … and all the loved ones they left behind. Bates includes an “Author’s Note” about the Cape Verdean Islands, their colonial Portuguese heritage, and how mantenhas kept families together in spite of the many miles. Illustrator Lambert Davis‘ captures Grandma and Cora’s special bond just right … their holding hands, their knowing looks, their multi-generational love.

Readers: Children

Published: 2010


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