I’ll Go and Come Back
Rajani La Rocca, Author
Sara Palacios, Illustrator
Candlewick Press, Fiction, Mar. 29, 2022
Suitable for ages: 3-7
Themes: Intergenerational relationships, India, Travel, Culture, Communications, Multicultural
Opening: “For the first time since I was a baby, I flew across the world to see aunties and uncles, cousin-brothers and cousin-sisters, and Sita Pati.”
Book Jacket Synopsis:
When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond as they look at books together, make designs with colored sand, shop at the market, play games, eat chapatis, and sip warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.”
Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?
Why I like this book:
This book melts my heart on many levels. For starters, I love sweet grandchild/grandparent relationships. Despite the language barrier, readers will enjoy watching the loving bond between Jyoti and Sita Pati. Sometimes love speaks more loudly than words, as Rajani La Rocca demonstrates through her sweet and simple narrative. “I’ll go and come back,” is such a reassuring custom for all children who have grandparents living living miles away. And Sara Palacios vibrant and expressive illustrations highlight their special bond in a cheerful way.
I also am drawn to this story because our adopted Indian son speaks Tamil. The story also reminds me of my earliest conversations with him. He learned English much more rapidly than we learned Tamil words. But like Jyoti, we communicated as we introduced him to his new life and community. Sometimes words aren’t needed.
Resources: Do you have your own tradition with grandparents that live far away? Share how you stay connected. Create your own tradition.
Rajani La Rocca was born in Bangalore, India, and immigrated to the United States when she was a baby. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from Harvard with both a BA and and MD and has worked as a primary care physician since 2001. She is the author of several books for young readers. Rajani LaRocca lives in eastern Massachusetts with her family.
Every Friday, authors and KidLit bloggers post a favorite picture book. To see a complete listing of all the Perfect Picture Books (PPB) with resources, please visit author Susanna Leonard Hill’s website.
*Review copy provided by Candlewick in exchange for a review.