Late South Deerfield author pens book on family individuality

  • “What’s a Grandparent?”

Staff Writer
Published: 3/20/2019 4:06:11 PM

WHAT’S A GRANDPARENT?

Written by Jane Trigère

Illustrated by Lu Vincent

Schoen Books/Shires Press

janetrigere.com

The late Jane Trigère of South Deerfield was many things during her life: a costume and set designer, an art bookbinder, a calligrapher, a reporter and editor, a museum director, a teacher, and toward the end of her life, a published author.

Trigère, who died last October, was involved in many aspects of the arts, and her interest in her own family history — in particular, her grandchildren — spurred her to write the children’s book “What’s a Grandparent?” before she died.

In the story, illustrated by Lu Vincent, a young boy named Emmet (the name of one of Trigère’s grandchildren) comes home from kindergarten one day and tells his mother he was confused by a question his teacher had posed.

“Miss Leoni asked us if we had grandparents,” Emmet says. “Pearl said she had one, but I told her I don’t have any.”

But Emmet’s mother quickly understands what her son’s confusion is about. He actually has six grandparents, she reminds him, but they go by different names for that term, such as “Savta” and “Saba” (Hebrew for grandfather and grandmother, respectively).

So when Emmet returns to class the next day, he shares that information with his teacher, prompting Miss Leoni to call the class together again to explain that “grandparents” are the mothers and fathers of their mothers and fathers — and that those names can reflect the countries they originally came from.

So, she asks the children, what do they call these older people who are part of their lives?

Julia talks about her Abuela and Papi, who were born in Puerto Rico. Nadia describes her Babushka, who comes from Ukraine. Then there’s Ting, who’s from China, where his father’s father and mother are called Yéyé and Maomao and his mother’s father and mother go by Waigon and Waipo.

In the end, the story, as book notes put it, is about “discovering the invisible thread that binds us together as families through generations … (and) the preciousness of our relationships, the celebration of our cultures, and the beauty of our languages, woven together across continents.”


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