Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip-Book Review

"Anything worth doing is worth doing right."
-Grandma Lena in Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip

Spring is when all things become new again, a natural piece of artwork.  During my childhood, I remember this time as sowing, planting, and tending in my maternal grandmother's garden.  I was her little helper and I recall myself trying to learn everything I could about the art of gardening.  Her garden was a getaway for her, an oasis for her thoughts, and a way to take care of her family/community.  This type of art was apart of her life and her gardens were always so beautiful.
Gardening has become one of my hobbies and my oasis for myself.  I would not say that I am as passionate as she was, but I do love the feeling when my plants begin to grow and I can eat my product.  I experience a type of happiness from the tiny seeds that make an entrance.

My grandmother was faithful to her garden. Whenever she had an abundance of crops, she would share with the community and the community would share with her.  During her conversations with others, her gardens were always a hot topic.  She was definitely proud of her gardening skills and people enjoyed her advice about her favorite hobby. It is one of the many reasons I enjoyed Grandma Lena's Big Ol' Turnip .   Author Denia Hester and illustrator Jackie Urbanovic take a old Russian folktale and switch it up with an African-American theme.  Grandma Lena, similar to my grandmother, was proud of her gardening skills and did not become afraid of a challenge. Before the story starts, Hester gives a little background knowledge about African-American cookery. She discusses how turnips are cooked in the African-American culture and served with cornbread. She gives small details about the different ways cornbread can be cooked. These details also reminded me of my grandmother and her cooking skills, I still own one of her cast iron skillets. 

In the beginning of the story, Grandma Lena is contemplating on what type of turnips she would like to grow.  There are many types of turnips and Grandma Lena wants to make sure she picks the right one. Grandma Lena was dedicated and believed in finishing the job she started. After her turnip grows, Grandma Lena is surprised that her turnip is enormous in size and she can not pull it out the grown. She utilizes her family's help to disengage the big turnip. The story demonstrates how Grandma Lena is involved with her family and community, and how she strives to help others with her "big ol turnip".


  1. What a wonderful review. I love turnips. Alas plants quickly die in my care. I must add this book to my TBR list

    1. Plants are a lot of work, my grandma had patience. I love turnips too!

  2. This book looks so FUN! Thanks for being part of the #DiverseKidlit linkup!


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