By Erin Bried, Ballantine Books, $15.00, 266 pages
Grandparents offer love, support, and sage advice. Author Erin Bried has interviewed and recorded the insights of ten grandfathers in her new book How to Build a Fire. Step back into an era where young people learned how to change a flat tire, write a love letter, read animal tracks, give a speech, buy a suit, and how to “gently guide a dance partner without saying a word.” Each tip begins with a quote by one of the grandpas. What’s amazing is how relevant most of the skills remain today. Whether or not readers have a grandfather in their lives, they’ll feel like one is seated next to them as they read the featured grandpa’s words of wisdom. After 80+ years of experience, it’s no wonder these men are brimming with tales of love, war, sacrifice, honor, service, bravery, and responsibility.
Each tip is no more than two pages. Great illustrations compliment the text. This is a great gift for a new parent or graduate. How to Build a Fire is truly a treat to read. Take the time to talk with a grandparent or elderly person in your life. You’ll both be the better for it.
Reviewed by Kathryn Franklin