Hickory Chair.jpg

The Hickory Chair

Written by Lisa Rowe Fraustino

Illustrated by Benny Andrews

A unique and beautiful book about love, from the perspective of a blind child. 

“Lilacs, with a whiff of bleach.” Gran’s smell. That “rich molasses voice.” Gran reading stories. By these things Louis knows his grandmother. And he knows that she loves him.

But when Gran passes away, and leaves notes hidden in her things for each family member to find, Louis seems to be the only one forgotten. Could it be so? The answer comes generations later, when Louis himself is a grandfather and his faith is finally proved right.

Lisa Fraustino’s text has a musicality and sensuousness that might tempt you to read it to people who have their eyes closed. But you won’t want to miss renowned fine artist Benny Andrews’ richly textured pictures. His paint is thick and bright with color, and his collage technique brings in fabrics and objects that ask to be touched.

Truly this is a story that uses all the senses to convey its loving message.

Reviews and Awards

ALA Notable Children’s Book
Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books Blue Ribbon Book
NCTE Notable Children’s Book in the Language Arts
IRA Young Adults/Teacher’s Choice
Openheim Toy Portfolio Gold Medal
Brooklyn Public Library Great Books of 2002
Chicago Public Library Systems Best of the Best

⋆ “Although other picture books deal with the death of a grandparent, it’s hard to match Fraustino’s offering for delicate prose, subtle humor, and masterful portrayal of family unity and strength.” - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review

“[The story] is eloquent in its simplicity and elegant in its use of images to convey the sounds, smells, and tactile sensations of Louis' sightless world. Paper crackles ‘like hickory limbs in the wind,’ and Gran smells of lilacs ‘with a whiff of bleach.’ Perfectly complementing the rich texture of these words are artist Andrews’ beautifully colored, warmly tactile oil and fabric collages.”- Booklist

“Andrews’s oil paintings capture quiet moments shared between grandmother and grandson as well as active exchanges. Touches of fabric swatches, such as Gran’s blue petticoat hemline or linen used for the wall of the attic, create a homey atmosphere…Fraustino’s uncommonly visual prose, in concert with Andrews’s spare yet emotion-filled pictures, effectively conveys the lasting bond across generations.” - Publishers Weekly

“A finely crafted story of handed-down family treasures, sensory memories, and loving connections across the generations.” School Library Journal

Purchase Options
Amazon • Barnes & Noble

Spring 2001
Picture Book
ISBN: 0-590-52248-5
Price: $15.95/$22.99
Trim Size: 8 1/4" x 11 1/4"
Page Count: 32
Foreign Rights: Scholastic
Translation Rights: Scholastic
Rights Available? yes