I picked up the book Kisses on the Wind at NCTE at the Candlewick Press booth. There was something about this book that caught my eye... and I'm so glad it did!
This is a wonderful story of a pioneer family that is leaving for Oregon and a little girl, Lydia, who is saying goodbye to her grandmother, who is staying behind. The illustrations by Kathryn Brown (The Old Woman Who Named Things) are wonderful (especially the one of the grandmother laying by the pond with her granddaughter sailing a bark boat).
There are two parts that blew me away, "Then I hugged Grandma a long time. I breathed her in deep so I would not forget. I listened to her heartbeat and made my ears remember." and "Grandma reached into her apron pocket. She pulled out a brown book and laid it in my hands. 'I wrote my stories down for you, Lydia. When you miss me, you read them.' I opened the book that Grandma had made and turned the pages. Words floated by, Grandma's words. Grandma's stories. Stories she's told me since I was a baby. I rubbed the smooth leather cover with my hands. 'Now you'll always be with me,' I said. 'And every day I will think of you and love you.'... 'And I'll be loving you,' said Grandma."
This is a wonderful book. I'm so glad I picked it up on my way out of the convention center!