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Ji-li's Books - In My Grandmother's House

In My Grandmother's House
Award-Winning Authors
Tell Stores About Their Grandmothers

Published by HarperCollins in 2003

"In this unique collection, twelve of today's most acclaimed children's book authors take us on a journey to the grandmothers' houses of their memories. Some of the stories are sweetly nostalgic. Others are heartbreaking stories of difficult, or even absent, grandmothers. But each celebrates the sometimes warm, sometimes tense, always special relationship between grandmothers and their granddaughters. "

This collection of short stories, all by granddaughters, is really a collection of memories, with some liberties. It includes stories from the following authors:

Joan Abelove,
Alma Flor Ada,
Bennie Christensen,
Beverly Cleary,
Pat Cummings,
Jean Craighead George,
Mingfong Ho,
Ji-li Jiang,
Gail Carson Levine,
Beverley Naidoo,
Cynthis Leitich Smith,
Diane Stanley


To My Nai Nai
by Ji-li Jiang

I jerk awake, sobbing, soaked with sweat, my heart tight with pain.

For a moment, I forget where I am. In total darkness and absolute silence, I wait, and I remember. I am in my California apartment, thousands of miles from Shanghai , my hometown.

Nai Nai, I saw you in my dreams again. You were sweeping our alley. It was afternoon. A summer storm was coming, dark and windy. Your white shirt shook like a sail blown by a swirling gale, and your hair covered your face as you struggled to gather all the trash into the dustpan.

Then three children passed by. Seeing you, a landowner's widow being punished, made to sweep the alley, they approached you, eager to show some revolutionary power. A-ming, the meanest one, whose father was a policeman, kicked the dustpan out of your hand, scattering the dust you had gathered. You said nothing, but only looked at him. He angrily spit the cigarette from his mouth and then roughly pushed you. You fell to the ground.

The room is so dark and quiet. I hear only my own breath. Looking at the blank ceiling, I can't go back to sleep. I keep remembering many things about you, Nai Nai. So many things ......

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