Friday, July 1, 2011

Tales of a Gambling Grandma

Tales of a Gambling Grandma by Dayla Kaur Khalsa is one of those books that you find in your stacks and say, "Oh, I love this one!"  It's a story told through the eyes of a young girl who loves and adores her grandmother as "told to her by her grandmother."
     I love using snippets of this book during a study of memoir or personal narrative.  I've also used snippets when encouraging children to write about one of their "heroes."  It also lends itself to a study of worthy sentences or grand punctuation.
     It's a delightful read and as you move through the pages, you can't help but think about your own grandmother, grandfather, mother, or father.  It's perfect for nudging a ten-minute write in writer's notebook... in your own or in a student's.  It's a perfect read to stretch any writer.
     My friend Cathy recommended this book to me.  And, I'm so glad she did.  It's endearing and charming, funny and sad, complex and captivating.  Lines like, "My grandma sat like a flowering mountain in her big green garden chair." or "There were occasional visitors under our willow tree--other children in a quiet mood, the next-door cat on its way somewhere else, the mailman, and two tall nuns who lived around the corner." or "I sat in a chair in her silent kitchen, with no soap opera, and ate a sandwich cut only in two."  The writing is often explicit, often simple... a perfect text to mentor young writers.  
     Although not everyone will have the experience of having a "gambling grandma" or growing up in New York, everyone can experience the gift of good writing.  I'm so glad I picked up this old favorite from my stacks and read it again...
     I can't wait to use it in writer's workshop next year.  Now just to fit it into the right study...


  1. I have used it when we are working on creating 'family tree' books, short snippets about those on the tree. It is a terrific book.

  2. Skippy,

    Had to post Art and Martha gave this book to Justin when dad was writing the memoir or personal narrative. Justin pulled the book out and we smiled today over your post.

    love you,