Miss Irwin

Scholastic. Apr. 2023. 32p. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9781338300406.
PreS-Gr 2–Light and memory, past and present, darkness and forgetfulness—these are just a few of the themes Say explores in a book that takes on dementia through the loving eyes of a grandson visiting his grandmother. In sunshine-filled watercolors that help readers navigate the misunderstandings as Andy does, a story unfolds; his grandmother mistakes him for a former student, Willie, from a long-ago lesson when she was a much younger teacher, Miss Irwin. She saved the small hummingbird nest Willie made for her back then, and reminds him of how the class put a feeder in a plum tree. Although Andy slips up, and calls her “Grandma,” she corrects him gently, and he adapts to her time and place, with a compassion that is astounding and yet utterly childlike. That Say conveys this in mere pages, with very few words, is simply more evidence of his mastery of form; the scenes of past and present, from gray-haired woman to a younger teacher, keep readers grounded in time, and when Andy promises himself to make a nest, they will feel his resolve as well as his honoring of his relative, no matter where her memories dwell.
VERDICT Not only a lyrical look at teaching and life lessons, this is an essential book for SEL shelves, as well as for collectiona on Asian-American family life,and dementia.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing