I discovered Alayne Kay Christian’s contest almost too late to enter. I wondered if I should still enter with such a short time left.
But I liked her theme. Being a long distance grandparent herself and in honour of grandparent’s day, she wanted to have the story about long distance grandparents.
I can relate. Although my grandmother, my mother’s mother, lived in Germany, I always felt close to her, perhaps because of the many times she visited us, and we visited her.
But now it is my daughter’s turn to learn about long distance grandparents. She has only seen her father’s family once, as they live in China, and we live in Canada. The story below is based on her experience, although it is a really condensed version.
I admire how my husband was able to gently connect her with his family through the use of technology, so I thought the story should be told. I am wondering if it is a bit dialogue heavy for a picture book though. Any thoughts?
I hope you enjoy it.
Susan threw herself on her bed. She grabbed her pillow and started to sob into it. “No, no, no! I don’t want to!”
Susan’s mother sat down on the bed and rubbed her back. “What’s the matter, Susan? Your baba’s family loves you.”
Susan’s voice was muffled in the pillow. “Well I don’t love them. They talk too loud. And why do they have to speak Chinese?”
“But your Chinese is really very good. It’s better than mine. And Chinese and China are part of your heritage, you know,” said her mother.
“I don’t care! I won’t do it. I don’t want to talk to them.” Susan put her head under her pillow.
Susan’s baba sat on the bed. He pulled out his cell phone. He started to look at it.
Susan lifted her pillow a little. “What are you looking at, Baba?”
“I was wondering if you wanted to take a picture of yourself to send to Yeye.”
Susan sat up. “Me, take a picture of myself? All by myself? Can it be a funny one?”
“Sure.” He handed to cell phone to Susan. “Just press here.”
Susan made a funny face and pressed the button. She passed the phone back to her father. “Here.”
“Can I send it now to Yeye and Shushu?”
Susan nodded once. “OK. But I still won’t say anything to them.”
Her baba started to type. “Then I will ask them if they think the picture is pretty.”
“Good night, Susan.” Her father kissed her on her head. “We will see what they have to say in the morning.”
“Good night, Baba. Good night, Mommy.”
The next morning Susan woke up and ran upstairs to the kitchen. Her father was at the table. “Good morning, Susan. Would you like to hear what your uncle had to say about your picture?”
“OK, Baba.” She sat down on his lap.
Baba opened up his cell phone and pressed a button. “Susan, zhe zhao piar zhen piao liang.”
Susan clapped her hands. “He said my picture is really pretty. Can I do another one?”
“Sure.” Baba handed her the phone. “And this time do you want to record a message yourself?”
Susan covered her face. “No! I’m too scared. What if I make a mistake?”
‘That doesn’t matter,” said Baba. “But I will say the words and you can repeat them, if you want.”
Susan tilted her head.“OK.”
“What do you want to say?” he asked.
“I want to ask them if this picture is also pretty.”
“Sure…Zhe zhao piar ye piao liang, ma?” said Baba.
Susan hesitated. But she repeated the words. “I did it. I did it!”
“Excellent.” Her father played back the message. “Yeye and Shushu will be so happy.”
“I can’t wait until tomorrow when we get a message back.”