When Lola Visits by Michelle Sterling and Aaron Asis

Hello, Michelle Sterling! Welcome to Watch. Connect. Read.! Thank you so much for stopping by to celebrate your BEAUTIFUL picture book, When Lola Visits. I’m going to borrow a question that’s on the dust jacket: what does summer mean to you?

Michelle Sterling: Summer, for me, is like that deep breath I’ve been waiting to let out all year. It means slower days, less agendas and more time to wander. And wonder. Also more hours of sunlight, which is one of the things I look forward to most the entire year.

What ran through your heart the first time you saw Aaron Asis’ finished illustrations for When Lola Visits?

Michelle Sterling: I almost cried tears of joy to see Filipino culture represented in a children’s book. And the words were by me! I was on cloud nine for days! Aaron’s art is like a breeze on a summer afternoon — light and carefree — and at the same time it exudes such a beautiful, tangible warmth. The same warmth that characterizes Filipino culture and ways. Even now, after having looked at the art countless times, I still marvel at just how well he captured the spirit of the story.

Scenario: Imagine you’re telling second-grade teachers about When Lola Visits. What do you share with them?

Michelle Sterling: When Lola Visits is the book I never had but longed for growing up. I know so many people have said this, but I’ll say it again because I believe it with every fiber in my being — all kids need to see themselves in books. We all need to see each other in the pages of books.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

When Lola Visits’ endpapers are beautiful kalamansi trees that hint of the fragrant story to come.

School libraries are places where magic happens. Readers find books and books find readers — all with the help and care of amazing librarians.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me how this story came about? It was, in fact, inspired by a bowl of ripening peaches on my kitchen counter. A true summer moment!

Thank you, Michelle! 

Michelle Sterling is an author, photographer, and speech-language pathologist. She lives in Southern California, where her summers are filled with reading, homemade ice cream, and long, golden hours at the park. When Lola Visits is her first picture book. 

Aaron Asis is a Filipino illustrator best known for his use of vivid colors and expressive brushstrokes. Having illustrated a couple of children’s books, he also aspires to create his own book one day.

Borrow When Lola Visits from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

HarperCollins' Description: 

In an evocative picture book brimming with the scents, tastes, and traditions that define summer for one young girl, debut author Michelle Sterling and illustrator Aaron Asis come together to celebrate the gentle bonds of familial love that span oceans and generations.

What does summer mean to you?

For one young girl, summer is the season of no school, of days spent at the pool, and of picking golden limes off the trees. But summer doesn’t start until her lola—her grandmother from the Philippines—comes for her annual visit.

Summer is special. For her lola fills the house with the aroma of mango jam, funny stories of baking mishaps, and her quiet, sweet singing in Tagalog. And in turn, her granddaughter brings Lola to the beach, to view fireworks at the park, and to catch fish at their lake.

When Lola visits, the whole family gathers to cook, eat, and share in their happiness of another season spent together. Yet as summer transitions to fall, Lola must return home—but not without a surprise for her granddaughter to preserve their special summer a bit longer.


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