Book reviews: Babushka is Homesick and Tell Me a Story, Babushka

            I recently had the chance to read two of Carola Schmidt’s endearing and heartfelt children’s books in her Babushka series as a part of her Easter book tour. 

            “Tell Me a Story, Babushka” by Carola Schmidt weaves folklore with history and tradition as main character, Babushka, tells her precious granddaughter, Karina, a story about her own childhood in the Ukraine, the events of the Holodomor (the 1932-1933 terror famine that took millions of lives), and how Babushka, as a child, came to immigrate to the U.S. 

            While a difficult topic to combat in a child’s book, the author presents the story in a beautiful way taking it from drama to hope. The illustrator (Vinicius Melo) also artfully shows the fear and change in a way that is digestible to young children via evocative but charming drawings that depict both the happiness and terror the characters felt. 

            This book teaches its young readers that bad things happen but these difficult times are fleeting and love and family can lead to something better. In all, “Tell Me a Story, Babushka,” presents a powerful but sweet message about history, hope, and healing. 

“Babushka is Homesick” by Carola Schmidt is a follow-up of sorts to “Tell Me a Story, Babushka” which detailed the events of the main character leaving the Ukraine as a child. In “Babushka is Homesick,” Babushka (grandmother) journeys back to the Ukraine for her first visit in years and reminisces about her childhood there. As she travels around, she remembers the places she used to visit as a little girl and notes how much has changed. However, Babushka comes to realize her home now is back where her grandchildren are and that home is where your heart is. 

            This sweet children’s book is beautifully illustrated by Vinicius Melo, who gives wonderful live and emotion to the characters. “Babushka is Homesick” is a charming story for a parent or grandparent to share with a young child and it would be a wonderful lead-in to many heartfelt family conversations wherein grandparents can rely their own experiences to their grandchildren. 

            I look forward to future installments in the Babushka series. 

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