This book makes me cry. Hannah lives at the beach, near her grandmother. Each day she visits her gran, and they go walking and swimming and picnicking on the beach. Gran loves Hannah dearly. Eventually, Hannah’s parents decide to move to Australia for new jobs, and Gran and Hannah must part. But they find a special way of sending their love to each other through the sea. The story is told with great sensitivity, making me wonder whether it in part reflects the author’s own experience. The illustrations are beautiful – full of soft greens and blues and golds, capturing the beauty of pohutukawa, and the love and delight in Gran’s face as she looks at her beloved granddaughter.
The bit that makes me cry? The last page:
When Gran awoke she smiled and remembered her message for Hannah. She knew that one day, on the beach at Adelaide, Hannah would see I LOVE YOU written in the sand. Hannah knew the secrets of the sea. She would know where the words had come from.
I simply refuse to read this book to my daughters. It gets me, badly, every time.