by Judy Newman with Alexie Basil
Children’s literature is filled with wonderful grandparents: Charlie Bucket’s grandpa in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Tomie dePaola’s beloved Strega Nona, Donald Crews’s Bigmama and Bigpapa, and CJ’s Nana in Last Stop on Market Street, to name just a few.
My own two grandmothers and great-grandmother were so influential in my childhood. Their loving belief in me—and the fun we had away from the rules and regulations of regular family life—are imprinted in my memory and my heart. Each in their own way, Nana Rae, Nana Min, and Grandma Kaplan helped me to lighten up, experience new things, and believe in myself.
Now that I too have joined the ranks of parents with children who have children (how’s that for another euphemism?), I have to say it’s a privileged place to sit—and babysit. I feel like I have perspective and wisdom and a much better sense of humor about life than I did when my own children were small.
Plus—and this I did have with my own kids—I believe unequivocally that my granddaughter and her future siblings and cousins can do anything they set out to do, become anyone they want to be, and overcome any challenge life throws their way—as long as they have enough nonjudgmental, unconditional love. Which, of course, I plan to offer.
Just like Molly Lou Melon’s grandmother.
In these tough times when kids need emotional support and someone to believe in them, I’m thrilled to share that our Scholastic Book Clubs Book of the Week is Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon written by Patty Lovell and illustrated by David Catrow.
“[Molly Lou] leaves readers with the feeling that anything can be accomplished if you are the best person you can be and make the most of your gifts.” —Kirkus Reviews
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon is a charming picture book about a tiny girl with buckteeth, a squeaky voice, and self-confidence instilled by her grandmother.
Rather than let Molly Lou feel down about her (very slight) stature, her grandmother tells her, “Walk as proudly as you can and the world will look up to you.” And she’s right!
Molly Lou has big buckteeth. But her grandmother tells her, “Smile big and the world will smile right alongside you.” Right again!
And Molly Lou definitely does not have the voice of an angel. But still, her grandmother tells her, “Sing out clear and strong and the world will cry tears of joy.” Readers will rejoice, just as I did, when Molly Lou uses her voice to stand up to the class bully.
When Molly Lou moves away from her grandmother and to a new school, a bully puts her self-esteem to the test. But instead of letting him get her down, she leans in to who she is and ultimately wins over all of her new classmates—her bully included!
My friend and colleague David Vozar was reminded of how much his own grandmother boosted his confidence and created this original illustration.
This week, we put together several engaging videos and free resources to help you introduce your students to Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon, including…
A fun activities-filled Book Boys video that you can play for your class.
An exclusive author interview video with Patty Lovell with great fun facts, such as why she dedicated Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon to her brother and how she got the idea for her story. Bonus: Patty’s video interview is paired with an exclusive written interview with illustrator David Catrow.
And a teacher review video with first grade teacher Jen Cardinal in which she shares how she uses Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon with her students to host virtual writing assignments.
I hope that you and your students enjoy Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon and that it helps inspire confidence in your class. Please send me any thoughts on grandparents from children’s books—or your own life—who you adore!
Order the Book of the Week from Scholastic Book Clubs