Mona Voelkel

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#PPBF: I’ll Go and Come Back

Book Title: I’ll Go and Come Back

Author: Rajani LaRocca

Illustrations: Sara Palacios

Publisher & Year: Candlewick Press, 2022

Intended Age: 3-7 years

Topic/Themes: Family, Culture, New Experiences

Opening Lines: “For the first time since I was a baby, I flew across the world to see aunties and uncles, cousin-brothers and cousin-sisters, and Sita Pati.”

Synopsis: I’ll Go and Come Back is a joyful story about a girl named Jyoti who travels to India to visit her grandmother, Sita Pati. When her cousins go to school, Jyoti feels lonely until her grandmother takes her under her wing. They play games together, shop together, and creating art together. Despite the language barrier, Jyoti and Pati form a strong bond. When it is time for Jyoti to leave, she remembered that “no one in India just said ‘goodbye'” as they say, “I’ll go and come back….Poitu varen.”

Everything is reversed when Sita Pati comes to visit Jyoti in the States. Now, it is Jyoti who makes her grandmother feel comfortable by playing games, shopping, and creating art. The beautiful phrase, “I’ll go and come back….Poitu varen,” is spoken once again. The book ends with Sita Pati and Jyoti realizing that although they might be separated, they are always connected by love.

What I love about this book: This book is a beautiful tribute to family, a celebration of culture, and a celebration of the unbreakable bonds of love. I like the craft of this book, with the second half of the book “mirroring” the first half.


Reading: After reading the story, view this video of Rajani LaRocca explaining how family memories and a sari inspired the story and craft:]YouTube.

Writing: Using this book as a mentor text, write a story about a loved one that you don’t see as much as you’d like.

Since April is National Poetry Month, ask students to share family expressions and then craft those expressions into a “Where I’m From” poem.

For example, Jyoti’s family don’t say “good-bye.” Instead, they say, “I’ll go and come back.” What expressions do people in your family use to communicate and/or show love? 

Share George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” poem and point out that “perk up” and “pipe down” represents expressions that she heard when she was young. Encourage students to create their own version of a “Where I’m From” poem.

This review is part of PPBF (Perfect Picture Book Friday) where bloggers share great picture books. Organized and curated by author Susanna Leonard Hill, she keeps an ever-growing list of Perfect Picture Books. #PPBF

I purchased this book at the Rhode Island, “We Are All Readers” Book Festival.

Thanks for stopping by! Have you read this book?Let me know in the comments.

Reflections on this Book:

I was so taken with the family expression, “I’ll go and come back,” at the heart of this book. It reminded me how someone’s actual words can really help paint a vivid picture of them. 

I love this stanza from George Ella Lyon’s iconic “Where I’m From” poem:

I’m from fudge and eyeglasses, 

          from Imogene and Alafair. 

I’m from the know-it-alls

          and the pass-it-ons, 

from Perk up! and Pipe down! 

I’m from He restoreth my soul

          with a cottonball lamb

          and ten verses I can say myself.

Here’s a stanza from a “Where I’m From”-inspired poem that I wrote about my dad:

I’m from, “Get to work,” and “I’d have it done while you stand there looking”

I’m from someone who showed his love every day by how long and how hard he worked.

I’m from “where the Shannon River flows” 

and from the twinkle of his bright blue eyes as he told us a story.

I am from his pride in a life well lived and a job well done.

You can also invite students to create “Where I’m From” poems in the voice of the people and places you are studying in class.

What are some expressions that you heard growing up?


8 Responses

  1. Hi Mona, I’m not sure if there’s a glitch on your blog, but I couldn’t leave a comment on today’s (4/22) PPBF post. It was also laid out in my browser differently. It could be a technical issue on my end, but I thought I’d let you know.

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