I'll Go and Come Back by Rajani LaRocca and Sara Palacios

Hello, Rajani LaRocca! Welcome back to Watch. Connect. Read. I’m super excited you’re here to discuss I’ll Go and Come Back. “Oh, that is soooooooooo sweet and wonderful,” is what I said to myself when I finished reading it for the first time. As someone who was mostly raised by a grandmother, I always have a soft spot in my heart for books that show the bond between a grandchild and a grandparent.

Rajani LaRocca: Hello, John Schu! Thanks so much for letting me tell you about this book and what it means to me. I’ll Go and Come Back is based on my relationship with my own grandmother, and it’s a heart book for me.

Believe it or not, it’s the first book I ever sold, way back in March 2018! I was so delighted that Andrea Tompa and Melanie Cordova at Candlewick loved this book and wanted to publish it, and I was thrilled that Sara Palacios signed on to illustrate it. As you can see, it was worth the wait!

Yes, the illustrations are gorgeous! 

Please tell everyone about the moment Sara Palacios captures on the cover.

Rajani LaRocca: Sara beautifully captures a moment of joy between a grandmother and grandchild — a moment when they gaze at each other with love that is unencumbered by expectations or rules, love that exists perfectly poised in the present.

Illustration Credit: Sara Palacios | Used with permission by Candlewick Press 

Imagine a bookseller at The Silver Unicorn Bookstore asks you to fill out a shelftalker about I’ll Go and Come Back.

Rajani LaRocca: I’ll Go and Come Back tells the story of Jyoti, who flies across the world to visit her family in India. But India is different from home, and Jyoti feels lonely and homesick. Then Jyoti’s grandmother connects with her through art and play and food and makes her feel better. When Jyoti’s grandmother comes to visit her in the U.S. and she feels homesick, Jyoti knows exactly how to help. I’ll Go and Come Back is about intergenerational love that flies across the world and always promises to come back.

Please finish the following sentence starters:

Sara Palacios’ illustrations are perfect. When we were searching for illustrators, I wanted to choose someone who could show a contrast between the two settings: a big Indian city and a small American suburb. Sara does that so beautifully with contrasting color palettes that give the reader the flavor of both places. And I love the way she’s depicted the love between Jyoti and her grandmother and how it grows over the course of the story.

Chapatis are delicious Indian flatbreads that go with everything! I eat them about once a week. This story continues my tradition of including yummy food in my books . . . you can definitely tell what I love by what I write!

Grandmothers are treasures. This story was inspired by my own grandmother, who didn’t always have an easy life, but always gave me and her other grandchildren nothing but love and encouragement. She was a sweet, gentle woman who enjoyed winning at games and delighted in watching her grandchildren enjoy her delicious food. She took the time to play with us and learn about us. I’m so grateful for the time I got to spend with her and for the joy and strength I feel when I think about her. I hope that readers will see their own grandparent relationships reflected in the pages of this book.

Photo Credit: Carter Hasegawa

Rajani LaRocca 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. She is the author of several books for young readers. Rajani LaRocca lives in eastern Massachusetts with her family.

Sara Palacios is the illustrator of many picture books, including My Day with the Panye, written by Tami Charles. She divides her time between San Francisco and Mexico City.

Look for I'll Go and Come Back on March 29, 2022. 

Candlewick's Description:

A tender, beautifully illustrated story about a girl in America and her grandmother in India, whose love stretches between languages and cultures—and across the world.

When Jyoti visits her grandmother halfway around the world, she is overwhelmed by the differences between India and home. At first she feels lonely and out of place, but soon, despite a language barrier, she and Sita Pati are able to understand each other. They form a bond—looking at books together, making designs with colored sand, shopping at the market, playing games, eating chapatis, and sipping warm milk with saffron to bring sweet dreams. When it’s time to part, Jyoti doesn’t want to leave, but then she remembers that in Tamil, people don’t say goodbye, they say “I’ll go and come back.” Sure enough, the two reunite the next summer when Pati visits Jyoti in America, and it’s Jyoti’s turn to make her grandmother feel welcome. Can they create some special memories that will last until the next time they see each other?


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