By Barbara Merritt, Scarborough School Department
This story is based on the author’s family experience. Cora’s family is gathered at Grandma’s beach house to celebrate Grandma’s 70th birthday. In the midst of lots of cooking and preparing for the celebration, Grandma and Cora take a walk on the beach. Grandma speaks of the sister she left behind in Cape Verde and how much she misses her. She tells Cora they promised they would send each other mantenhas, or messages from afar. That night, Cora sees a lady by the shore in a dream, believes it is a mantenha from Grandma’s sister, and is inspired to create the perfect birthday gift for Grandma. The warm family event will be comforting to children as well as the close relationship between Cora and Grandma. In places, the pictures do not really depict what the text is saying, particularly when Grandma is opening her birthday gifts. Some pictures feel stilted and it i shard to determine Cora’s age. There is a lot of text to listen to. The strength of the book is the warm family relationships.