I’ve long enjoyed reading aloud from What You Know First and When the Relatives Came when teaching memoir. I now have another text, Grandma’s Scrapbook written by Josephine Nobisso and illustrated by Maureen Hyde, that has been added to my list of favorite memoir touchstone texts.
While Nobisso’s book is not new (It was published in 1990.), it’s new to me. The language in Grandma’s Scrapbook is exquisite. It is written with the cadence that defines the way in which memoirs ought to be written.
Here are some examples of the incredible prose, and accompanying illustrations, from Grandma’s Songbook:
I suggest reading this book aloud a few times to your class, along with whatever other touchstone texts you wish to share with them when you begin a memoir unit of study. Grandma’s Scrapbook contains the kind of writing most novice memoirists aspire to write.
A review copy of Grandma’s Scrapbook was provided by Gingerbread House Books, who also provided permission to include the above images in this post.
I am a literacy consultant who has spent over a decade working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grade K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.
I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).