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Denise Vega

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Member Since: Feb, 2008

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Grandmother, Have the Angels Come?
by Denise Vega   

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Books by Denise Vega
· Build a Burrito
· Fact of Life #31
· Access Denied (and other eighth grade error messages)
· Click Here (To Find Out How I Survived Seventh Grade)
                >> View all



Publisher:  Little, Brown Young Readers ISBN-10:  0316106631


Copyright:  Feb 1, 2009 ISBN-13:  9780316106634

Picture book about aging and the relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter.

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Written in free verse, this book shows a granddaughter's observations about her grandmother's aging and how the grandmother turns each one into a positive.

Grandmother, Have the Angels Come? is included in the Reading Is Fundamental 2009 Multicultural Library Booklist, which provides more than 400 multicultural children’s book collections to elementary school classrooms in lowincome communities throughout the United States. I'm honored that my book was chosen to be among the 50 in the collection! 

Additional accolades:

  • 2010 Américas Award Commended Title
  • Living in Color Award winner
  • Colorado Top Hand Award winner
  • Colorado Book Award winner


Professional Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this paean to grandmotherly love, presented in a repeating question and answer format, a girl perceives her grandmothers physical aging as a gift from the angels, and wonders whether she will always be with her. The impish-looking white-haired grandmother responds with assurances of her continued love and presence even, the text implies, after death. Vega ("Click Here (to find out how i survived seventh grade)") delivers a mélange of sentimentality and spirituality Grandmother, Grandmother, have the angels come and darkened your eyes? Yes, my darling granddaughter... they have dimmed my vision so I may see more clearly.... I will see you over valleys and deep inside your soul. (Angels have also rendered the woman hard of hearing, stooped, toothless, etc.) Konos ("Hula Lullaby") lush, swirling illustrationsfull-bleeds dominated by deep orange and turquoisesave the book from the syrupy mix. Terra-cotta skin tones and embroidered clothing, along with the vibrant color palette, evoke Central or South America. The affection that pours from the pages is strong and believable, but the books equation of physical debilitation with old age, along with its undertones of approaching death, may puzzle and disturb the target audience. Ages 36. "(Feb.)" Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.

School Library Journal
A grandmother and her granddaughter share a dialogue about aging in which the woman answers the child's questions with reassurances about the physical changes that come with time. Kono's acrylic and pencil folk art evokes a rural Latin American setting and features monarch butterflies, smiling suns, and iconic swirling backgrounds. Vega's Hispanic characters are depicted in traditional dress and she manages to convey an acceptance of a stage in life that many Americans are loathe to embrace. The poetic give-and-take allows readers to think deeply about the topic. The granddaughter's query "have the angels come and darkened your eyes?" is answered with the graceful "Yes…. They have dimmed my vision so I may see more clearly." Vega belabors the point though. By the time grandmother's hair, ears, teeth, back, hands, legs, and feet have been addressed, readers will have aged too, and may miss the lovely last line. Lyrical and warm, this is an additional purchase for large multicultural and intergenerational collections.

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