Cover image for Grand fathers : reminiscences, poems, recipes and photos of the keepers of our traditions
Grand fathers : reminiscences, poems, recipes and photos of the keepers of our traditions
Giovanni, Nikki.
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holt, [1999]

Physical Description:
242 pages : illustrations ; 22 cm
A collection of varied tributes to grandfathers, reflecting their special roles in families.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Central Library PZ5 .G6953 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



Grandfathers are family treasures. Here, in more than forty reminiscences, poems, photos, and recipes, we all get to sit on the porch and listen to their wise voices. Nikki Giovanni has brought together writers of many ages, races, and backgrounds. They tell us of their grandfathers: slaves and Confederate soldiers, homesteaders and railroad men, Sons of the Revolution and new immigrants. Grand Fathers is a warm and welcoming collection that honors all of our families, in love and in pain, so that we all feel what loving relationships can be.

Author Notes

Nikki Giovanni is one of the most prominent black poets of her generation. Born on June 7, 1943, in Knoxville, Tenn., she graduated from Fisk University and later studied at Columbia University. Giovanni creates strongly written poems to convey messages of love, frustration, alienation, and the black experience. She gained national fame with the publication of Black Feeling, Black Talk, Black Judgement in 1970. Full of the spirit of the black community during this era, her works captured the anger and frustration of many of its members.

Giovanni has been the recipient of grants from both the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation. She has taught English at Rutgers University, Ohio State University, and Queens College and has given frequent poetry readings. She is also known for several sound recordings of her poetry, including Truth Is On Its Way. She has also been a Professor of English at the Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6^-12. A companion to Grand Mothers (1994), this collection of personal family stories includes a few famous writers, but most are ordinary people from many backgrounds with memories that range from the sweet and inspirational ("Everyone loved him and he them") to the sad and even angry. There is sometimes an overload of homely detail--not every grandchild is a writer; not every family story interests outsiders--but, as Giovanni says in her introduction, dipping into this anthology will encourage young people to solve some of their own "families' mysteries." In the best pieces, the particulars speak to all of us. Thomas Giovanni tells and shows his haunting regret ("I never should have said that to him, and now he's gone, and I wish I could make it better, but I can't"). Many pieces are framed by history, like Sterling Plumpp's account of "Poppa," whose world was "within margins set by the legacy of slavery and the trials of sharecropping." The last piece, by Ashley Bryan, opens things out: his grandfathers died when they were young; he never knew them; but he talks lovingly of a family friend, "who became a grandfather to me." --Hazel Rochman

Publisher's Weekly Review

"Know your history!" These words, uttered by the man whom artist Ashley Bryan adopted as a grandfather, are taken to heart by all of the contributors to this collection, a companion volume to Giovanni's Grand Mothers. While some of the 47 writers of these poems and reminiscences (and even a song) celebrate the relationship between grandfather and grandchild, the majority focus on documenting the lives of the men who came before them, setting down details of births, marriages, children and careers as a testament to their courage, strong wills and, occasionally, to their failures. Eugenia Collier crafts a toast to her step-grandfather, born "in the first generation after slavery"; Walter J. Leonard relates the pithy words of wisdom he learned from his grandfather's experience as teacher and minister. In a finely honed piece, Lydie Raschka writes of her Norwegian grandfather ("Talking was not his strong point"), who raised his two children alone after his wife's suicide. Marina Budhos attests, in spare language, to the power of her Russian Jewish grandfather even after he disowns his daughter. Few of the pieces tell a sustained story; rather, like mosaics, they capture their subjects by juxtaposing small snippets of a life one against another. This technique, as well as the mature insights and sensibilities of the essayists, may attract more adults than teens. Though a fitting homage, this volume, with its smattering of handsome black-and-white photographs, is most effective as a moving collection of American social history. Ages 11-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 6 Up-A companion volume to Giovanni's Grand Mothers (Holt, 1995). More than 40 individuals from all walks of life have contributed pieces to this anthology, and the literary quality and interest level vary considerably. Some of the pieces are by well-known writers and poets-Liz Rosenberg, Rita Dove, and Ashley Bryan-while others are by first-time authors. Some of the vignettes and biographical sketches reveal more about the writers than about their subjects; few are memorable. There are some links with history, notably in a section on great grandfathers of Civil War vintage, but many of the portraits never rise above the conventional and predictable. The overall effect is of repetition, forgivable in an oral-history project, but less tolerable in a children's book perhaps. While these grandfathers were important figures to the writers, few of them have been able to convey a compelling sense of the individuality or larger significance of the men in question.-Patricia Lothrop-Green, St. George's School, Newport, RI (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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