Granny Torrelli Makes Soup
by Sharon Creech, published 2003
“I did a play all by my stupid self and I was a blind woman, but it is hard to be a blind woman all by yourself, with no one to talk to but your own stupid self. It doesn’t make a very good play.”
As a fan of almost every children’s book by Sharon Creech, I was delighted to see one I hadn’t read while browsing my school library. And as always, Creech comes through. Her books often address topics that no one wants to write about for children, and she does it with compassion, and in this case, a great deal of humor. There are two threads through this children’s book. One is being best friends with someone who is blind. How do you learn to be normal with them, and enjoy what they can do? The other thread is the unfolding of feelings when a boy and a girl have been bff. (I bet you didn’t think I knew that one!)
Because of the issue of boy-girl jealousy, and developing relationships, I would put this more for 5th grade, rather than 3rd. I think the 3rd and 4th grades can avoid these issues a bit longer, hopefully. However, it’s not a heavy handed approach – it’s simply jealousy, so I suppose any grade could read it.
This children’s book is also filled with little Italian phrases here and there, so any family with connections to Italy will surely get an extra does of enjoyment from the book.