Our Gracie Aunt ISBN: 9780786806201
Published by Hyperion Books for Children, 2002
Beebee and Johnson, two black children who live with their mum in a big American city, are used to mum's leaving them - sometimes for several days. This time, though, she's been gone a long time, and when Miss Roy, a social worker, discovers their plight, she says they must go to stay with their Aunt Gracie. Johnson, the younger child, doesn't remember Gracie, but Beebee knows that she and their mama have fallen out, and she resists their going. Aunt Gracie lives in a big house, and the children find themselves in a far more luxurious life-style than they are used to. Torn between this new, stable existance and their love for mama, the two of them are sad and happy at the same time. Aunt Gracie provides abundant love and understanding, and they know their sick and sad mama loves them too when they get to visit her at the end of the story. She may be in hospital or in prison; this is purposely not made clear and is one of the strengths of the story. The water colour illustrations are quite outstanding, providing warmth and feeling.