When I checked out the children’s book Tea With Grandpa from the library a couple of years ago to share with the grands, I read most of the book in advance. To this day I remember how I was slightly saddened by the fact a little girl got to have tea with her grandpa every day. Why couldn’t my husband (or me) do that with our grandkids? How wonderful it would be to live close by!
But when I actually read this rhyming picture book by acclaimed author and artist Barney Saltzberg to my grandkids, I was in for a surprise. We loved learning about the little girl’s daily tea ritual with her grandfather as they sing and laugh and clink their teacups. BUT! The final pages reveal they’re not in the same house as the reader assumes, but are actually using SYKPE to have tea together. You never see until the last pictures that they actually are miles away from each other.
Whaddya know! This Grandpa and granddaughter are one of us — people who live far away but make it work.
Shortly after I first read the book, I had a phone interview with Barney Saltzberg. He said the inspiration for the book came from his dad, the late Irving Saltzberg, who did Skype tea parties with Ella, one of Irving’s great-grandchildren. “I wanted to show how my dad was able to connect with kids he doesn’t see often,” said Barney. (There’s a delightful YouTube video of Irving having an in-person tea party with Ella.)
Barney told me that people often share with him that his book is an inspiration for how long distance grandparents like us can have rituals and relationships with the darlings in our lives, by using video chatting such as FaceTime, Skype, and Facebook Portal.
Tea With Grandpa is a definite delight … and sweetly drives home a fantastic lesson: our grandkids are never too far away to have tea with us.
For my tips on reading picture books to little ones during a video chat, click here.
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