Wednesday, August 2, 2017
AUNT LILLY’S LAUNDROMAT
Age Range: 3 and up
Hardcover: 24 pages
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers; 1st edition (1994)
Ages 5-7. As a young woman searching for work, Aunt Lilly immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti, and since that time she has lived in Brooklyn. Now, years later, she runs a neighborhood Laundromat, working hard to earn her living (but not as hard as her family and friends worked in the fields of Haiti). As she sorts and folds, however, she is constantly reminded of her childhood memories of island life--Grandma braiding her hair, the birds, the flowers, and the colors and smells and sounds. Even though she loves the city, Aunt Lilly paints her tropical memories and hangs the canvases on the walls of the Laundromat. In this way she goes about her business, and the quality of her work is rewarded by friendly, repeat customers who enjoy her company and add pleasure to the day. Greenberg's folksy, bright artwork against white pages emphasizes the sunny disposition of her character--an immigrant who meshes the best of two worlds into one. Kathryn Broderick
From Publishers Weekly
Aunt Lilly works in a Brooklyn laundromat, sorting, washing, drying and folding, all the while thinking about her childhood in Haiti. Bundles of colored laundry ("blues and greens like the warm Caribbean sea"), gurgling washing machines, etc., conspire to remind her of "her lovely native land filled with singing birds." Lilly is happy, taking pride in her work, and when she has a quiet moment she makes paintings based on her childhood memories. Busy illustrations in bold, luminous colors capture Lilly's joie de vivre. "Her" Haitian pictures, full of exuberance and tropical abundance, transform her sweet longing into canvases of pulsing island life. Greenberg's work has a childlike zest and, at the same time, is imbued with a strong sense of order and design. Her book succeeds as a celebration of fond memory and honest labor. Ages 4-8.
From School Library Journal
Kindergarten-Grade 2. In this slice of urban life, readers are introduced to Aunt Lilly, who left her beloved homeland many years before to come to New York, where she operates a laundromat. Lilly is outgoing and cheerful, and continually sees connections between her world in Brooklyn and her life as a child in Haiti. Throughout the text, which follows the woman through her day of washing, drying, folding, and chatting, she recalls sensations and colors and then records them on canvas in her back-room studio. The decorative, full-page illustrations alternate lively scenes that evoke a sense of Carribean color and charm with equally vivid pictures of the laundromat. This is pleasant enough fare, but it lacks a strong story line, and may not hold a lot of interest for most children. Janet O'Brien, Mount Pleasant Public Library, Pleasantville, NY
Hi Melanie! This might be a little out of the blue, but I felt compelled to shoot you a quick email. My cousin is having a baby shower in a week, and in lieu of gifts she asked for us to each donate a book that will remind her baby of us when they read it. I immediately thought to give my copy of Aunt Lilly. Growing up, this was my favorite book to check out from my elementary school's library. It's so colorful and it paints the kind of world that I've always wanted to be part of. As luck would have it, I finally got the chance to, as I've lived in NYC for about a year and a half (Brooklyn in particular since February). So this book means even more to me now that I'm living it. I just wanted to let you know how much I love your work, and that the next generation of my family will too. I hope you have a fabulous holiday weekend, and thanks for filling the world with so much color.
Cheers, Kelsey Butterworth