My husband's grandmother wrote stories about her childhood and early married years. A Southern girl who married and moved to an industrial state in the Midwest for work, she had interesting and humorous insights about events that happened to her. I've often thought about putting her words into stories for children.
Arleta Richardson has done just that, has taken her grandmother's stories and shared them with us in her Grandma's Attic series. She writes about Mabel, who is just slightly younger than my 12-year-old, and her best friend, Sarah Jane, and their adventures in a world before TV, computers, and video games.
We were given the third and fourth books in the series (pictured here), Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic.
I love these books. I would have adored them as a child. I loved to read anything from 'back in the olden days'. The Little House series was a favorite of mine and like that series, I would have read Richardson's books again and again.
The series is a bit too young for my high schooler.
With my homeschooler - if you are familiar with our story you know she has autism and developmental delays - these chapter books are a bit too advanced for her to read alone and we have been reading them - very slowly - together as read alouds. At first, I was upset about having to go so slowly, but I as we go through them, I see how slowly my child processes information and she gives me confirmation that slowly is better than not at all. Sometimes, we get through a couple of paragraphs; sometimes, a big chunk of a chapter. It all depends on how she is managing on that day and on how much new vocabulary and vernacular there is in the story at any given point.
Richardson uses a lot of old-timey vernacular, words, terms, expressions that we do not use today. Too many in one section, and my girl shuts down. She sometimes stops me to ask, "What does that mean?" or I'll ask her if she can guess what something means - and the more that happens, the more her anxiety rises. So, we make that our stopping point.
It is fun to imagine together what it might have been like without bookcases filled with books or without TV, and to imagine things in the book happening to us. What if a really old person came to live with us? What would that be like?
I like this series, and will probably order more of them. Your daughter may like them, too!
Still More Stories from Grandma’s Attic and Treasures from Grandma’s Attic by Arleta Richardson
David C Cook/August 2011
ISBN: and 978-0-7814-0382-5