Grandma’s First Tattoo by award winning duo Phillip Gwynne and illustrated by Tony Flowers is a rollicking tale that will delight both young and old readers. This story is full of heart, humour and is a beautiful celebration of diversity and the power of story told in the form of a tattoo.

This book begins at Show and Share when a young girl cannot contain her excitement to share her thrilling news that her grandma got her first tattoo in Bali. This sets off a stream of reactions, imaginings, ponderings and all bets are on as to the quality, size and most importantly, piquing everyone’s interest, the question about the design, what could it be an image of?

All the girl’s classmates weigh in with palpable enthusiasm. Highly imaginative ideas are suggested and the symbolism behind them as to what this new ink may be. Different cultures and time periods are represented that reflect personal histories and in some cases the ancestry of the girl’s class and her teachers. Some of the children’s ideas are whimsical and filled with humour.

The young girl begins to regret sharing this news as the whole school is buzzing with anticipation about her gran’s tattoo. She just wishes her gran could be like other grandma’s.

The time finally comes to meet grandma at the airport and the crowd gathers, all eyes are on her as she rolls up her sleeve to dozens of peering eyes, crooking their necks to get the first glimpse of Grandma’s unique tattoo. What is revealed is a genuine surprise that brought a tear to my eye.

Tony’s illustrations are stunning and oh so clever. Packed with details that bring to life the children’s imaginings. Within each illustration there are stories to unpack. Visual literacy opportunities abound in the pages of this book.

I am excited to share this story with all my classes, Prep right through to the Year 6 class. This book can be purchased from independent book shops and Yaffler Press

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