About a billion years ago, when my older child, Diana, was just born, a good friend who was moving out of town came by with a huge box of books she'd gathered for us. One of them was A Visit to Oma.
She'd been giving me descriptions of each book, and at this one she paused. "I just love this because—" She paused. "It's just so much what it was like when I visited my own grandmother, I guess."
But here's the crazy thing: my friend is a Protestant, ancestors-in-this-country-for-hundreds-of-years sort of person from the south (where her grandmother, of course, also was). And what I thought of this when I read this story to Diana for the frist time, and came upon Oma, the narrator's great-grandmother, was that obviously this was a German-Jewish family emerged from (in some not quite directly touched upon way) the holocaust.
But that's what is the amazing thing about books, at least the good ones. The more specific and true their own small portion of reality is, the more true it becomes in some larger, more overarching way. So this book, a quietly smart and moving story within a story about a girl's being forced to marry, then shunned, then finding love, somehow brings its truths with it wherever it goes. And it brings, too, an unobtrusive message: that grandparents and great-grandparents have their own real and powerful pasts.
I just checked on the author's web site that this book is out of print, which kind of kills me. It's really strange and wonderful. You can still find it in the library, of course, and the link above will help you find it used. it's worth finding. I would read it to anyone up to 9 (and they would, I think, secretly read it themselves, though it is a picture book).