Anna's corn

Author Santucci, Barbara.
Language English
Grand Rapids Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2002


Anna is reluctant to plant the kernels of corn her grandpa has left her upon his death, until she realizes that the act will help her remember the times they listened to the music of the corn together.

Subjects :

  • Death
  • Fiction
  • Grandfathers
  • Corn

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Best Books :

  • Publishers Weekly Book Review Stars, October 7, 2002 Cahners

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Awards, Honors & Prizes :

  • Children's Literature Award, 2003 Honor Book United States

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Curriculum Tools :

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Reading Measurement Programs:

Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids Mich.:) 2002.

Accelerated Reader
Interest Level Lower Grade
Book Level 3.5
Accelerated Reader Points 0

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Reviews :

Kay Weisman (Booklist, Oct. 1, 2002 (Vol. 99, No. 3))
Anna and her grandfather share a very close relationship. They especially enjoy taking long walks in the cornfield, where Grandpa teaches Anna to listen to the corn's music as the wind rustles through the withering stalks. The winter comes and Grandpa dies. When spring returns, Anna hesitates to sow the seed corn Grandpa left for her, because she worries she may lose her last link with him. Eventually Mama persuades her to plant, and in the fall Anna once again hears the music of the corn. Santucci's thoughtful story of loss, grief, and new beginnings offers children reassurance that even after death, good memories remain and can be a comfort. Bloom's colored-pencil illustrations exhibit seasonal hues, with many pictures in somber browns and golds. Most prominent in the artwork are the characters, with their kindly, often-introspective faces. This quiet, pensive story won't have mass child appeal, but it will be especially welcomed in the parenting section, for use in times of loss. Category: Books for the Young--Fiction. 2002, Eerdmans, $16. PreS-Gr. 3.
(PUBLISHER: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids Mich.:), PUBLISHED: 2002.)

Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz (Children's Literature)
At harvest time, Anna's Grandpa gives her some kernels of corn to plant in the spring. During the winter, Grandpa dies. Although she had made a promise, Anna does not want to plant the seeds, fearing they will then be lost. But her mother assures her that they will grow, and then she will again hear the music of the wind through the corn as she had with Grandpa. So she plants her seeds; they grow so that finally Anna can hear the same song she had heard with Grandpa. The simple but lengthy text shows hope and love overcoming grief across the generations. Although the text is ample in itself, Bloom's full-page colored pencil, graphite, and soft pastel illustrations reinforce the familial bonding. His colors are muted; shapes blend into rather than stand etched against the landscape. Anna is portrayed as a sensitive child, first grieving, then happy as she fulfills her promise. 2002, Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, $16.00. Ages 4 to 8.
(PUBLISHER: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids Mich.:), PUBLISHED: 2002.)

Kirkus (Kirkus Reviews, August 15, 2002 (Vol. 70, No. 16))
A little girl experiences the loss of her grandfather in this sad, sweet tale about death. Anna, a farmer's granddaughter, learns how to hear the "corn make music" from Grandpa. Together during one of their walks through the cornfields, they listen to the wind traveling through the stalks. After she hears the music this creates, Anna's grandfather gives her some corn kernels to plant the following spring and makes her promise that she will. The adult reader will probably know what's coming next when, that winter, Anna's grandfather dies. When spring arrives, Anna's reluctant to plant the kernels. When her mother asks her why, Anna replies, "If I bury them, they'll be gone forever." Her mother says, "They won't be gone, Anna. They'll just be different." Anna finally summons up the courage to plant the seeds and listens to her own "corn music." She also takes a few kernels from the new stalks to plant the next year-a nice moment to suggest the cycle of life. Santucci's (Loon Summer, not reviewed) style is straightforward and her simple language and realistic dialogue serve the subject matter well. The story doesn't unearth any new insights on losing a loved one, but does provide an easy window through which to view grief. Bloom's (When Uncle Took the Fiddle, 1999, etc.) classic colored pencils and pastels reflect the gentleness of the story. Most illustrations are not full spreads, making it better for an intimate read. 2002, Eerdmans, $16.00. Category: Picture book. Ages 4 to 8. © 2002 Kirkus Reviews/VNU eMedia, Inc. All rights reserved.
(PUBLISHER: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids Mich.:), PUBLISHED: 2002.)

Publishers Weekly (Publishers Weekly)
Delicately overlapping themes about the cycles of life, Santucci (Loon Lake) crafts a memorable, touching story about the death of a girl's much-loved grandfather. Grandpa teaches Anna that the corn in his fields makes "its own kind of music" and he shows her how to hear it, too: "A sudden gust of wind breathed through the dried corn stalks… until a song formed. A raspy song, like Grandpa's voice." Grandpa gives Anna some kernels, and that winter, as he lays ill, he makes her promise to plant them. Shortly afterward he dies, and Anna wrestles with her promise. "If I bury them, they'll be gone forever," she tells her mother. Bloom (A Man Named Thoreau) contributes some of his most affecting work yet, rendering his soulful, folksy compositions in a restrained blend of graphite, watercolor pencils and pastels. His nuanced use of color subtly draws readers' attention to changes in the seasons that correspond to the changes in Anna's feelings. For example, when Anna finally resolves to plant the corn, Bloom shows her smiling in the field; light browns and grays (used for the soil, Anna's clothing, parts of the sky, etc.) dominate the illustration, while a patch of green in the distance reinforces the springtime setting, with its promise of renewal, as well as the rebirth of Anna's hopes. Not only useful for readers coping with bereavement, this work is resonant in its own right as a celebration of continuity, in nature and in the heart. Ages 6-up. (Sept.)"
(PUBLISHER: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers (Grand Rapids Mich.:), PUBLISHED: 2002.)

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Publication Details:

  Publisher ISBN Notes
Grand Rapids Mich.: Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2002

Media Type: Language Material
1 v. (unpaged):
PZ7.S23863 ([E])

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