I’ll Go and Come Back, by Rajani LaRocca | Book Review

Book Review of I’ll Go and Come Back
The Children’s Book Review

What to expect: Family, Distance, and India

I’LL GO AND COME BACK is one of the sweetest, most heartwarming picture books there is on the topic of missing family.

Little Jyoti arrives in India, full of excitement and wonder. Everything is different than what she knows back in America – it’s loud and crowded. When Jyoti walks through town with her mother, everyone stares. But, she’s there to visit with her cousins and family, and she has a great time until everyone goes to school. Then, she is alone with her grandmother, Sita Pati, who doesn’t speak English. Jyoti doesn’t speak much Tamil, either.

Together, they try to understand each other and find that they can have a great time! From making designs in the courtyard with colored sand, going to the market for vegetables, and playing games at home, Jyoti has the best visit with Pati. When it’s time to fly back, Jyoti is so sad to leave. Then, her grandmother says, “Will you go and come?” in Tamil, and Jyoti smiles and responds with, “I’ll go and come back,” which is so much better than goodbye.

When they are reunited months later in America, it is Pati who feels different and overwhelmed. But Jyoti pulls her grandmother along for chalk on the sidewalk, shopping at the market for tortillas, and playing Chutes and Ladders. When it’s time for Pati to fly home, Jyoti and her grandmother promise to always come back. The love that Jyoti and her grandmother share is so special, even with their lack of a shared spoken language. Instead, they share the language of love and family, which is stronger than anything.

Author Rajani LaRocca has used the Tamil phrases of going and coming back to spectacular effect. Readers will remember the phrases (perhaps in English) to use with their own family and friends. What a special, wonderful way to leave a loved one bravely by looking to the future. Illustrator Sara Palacios has created a beautifully colorful world for Jyoti and Pati, juxtaposing the familiar United States neighborhoods with vibrant India. She captures how the two places are very different but similar in so many ways.

An uplifting story about love and family, I’LL GO AND COME BACK is sure to become a treasured book in a child’s library.

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Rajani LaRocca Head Shot

About the Author

Rajani LaRocca is the author of many books for young readers, including the Newbery Honor Book Red, White, and Whole. She was born in Bangalore, India, and immigrated to the US when she was a baby. She grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, graduated from Harvard with both a BA and an MD, and has worked as a primary care physician since 2001. Rajani LaRocca lives in eastern Massachusetts with her family.

For more information, visit https://www.rajanilarocca.com.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodbye? was reviewed by Denise Mealy. Discover more books like How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodbye? by following our reviews and articles tagged with Books About Grandmas, Distance, Family Relationships, India, Intergenerational Stories, Picture Book, Rajani LaRocca, Sara Palacios, and Travel.

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June 1, 2022 at 09:04PM Denise Mealy