Nana in the City
by Lauren Castillo


Nana in the City, visiting the park, cropped

Lauren Castillo's Nana in the City

Book review by Kristin Peck

Ages 4-8

Giving the Nana stereotype a makeover!

"It is no place for a Nana to live."

… And all of the Grandmothers around the world give a collective, "Bless his heart," in reaction to the little boy's concern for his Nana's well-being…

To say that this book is adorable is to give too little credit to the author & illustrator Lauren Castillo.

Taking an overnight trip to visit his Nana in the City, the narrating boy of the story shows his immediate distaste for the location in which his Nana is residing.

After all, the stereotypical Nanas do not usually live in areas that are loud, noisy, and dirty. Perhaps it was a mistake that she traveled down roads of graffiti ridden walls, or that she stopped to discuss matters of interest with strangers holding funny cups.

Nana gives to a homeless man, from a preliminary sketch

Initially the whole experience is one of unpleasant proportions for a little boy unfamiliar with the world outside of his rural upbringing. It is so bad that he even forgoes sleep because of the disturbances surrounding him outside.

His fears are apparent, and his worries lay heavy on the heart of someone so young.

Yet, it is a grandmother's superpower to make her grandchildren feel safe, and that is exactly what this Nana does.

Amazing knitting abilities ... CHECK!

And we now have a superhero cape that doubles as a protective barrier, an eye-opening clothing article of importance.

With his newly knitted red cape, the little boy can see the city with a more positive perspective.

The loudness is just the city's inner musical creativity.

People sitting against walls with cups or blankets wrapped around shoulders are actually nice individuals and give Nana opportunities to show how compassion can be shown to others.

Growth happens before the readers' very eyes, as they realize, along with the little boy, that sometimes things are not what they initially appear to be.

The saying "urban outfitter" gains a whole new meaning.

Review - Nana in the City

Warm illustrations illuminate the pages of this story as Castillo brings to life the city that she clearly knows well. Details jump out, and the cartoon drawn faces are full of expressions that allow the story to flow with simple word-play.

Oh! And let us make a side note that this Nana is a very stylish lady. I mean, check out her eye-wear that matches her outfits! Castillo has certainly brought a modern day fashion approach to her title character.

Autumn colors bring a coziness that makes the readers want to cuddle under a blanket and enjoy this story with their own Nanas.

Perhaps a knitted blanket would be most appropriate for such an occasion.

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo is a charming and endearing tale that would even make a lovely gift for Nanas to keep at their own homes and read when little grandchildren are spending the night.

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