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Annie and the Old One

3.87  ·  Rating details ·  1,006 ratings  ·  80 reviews
Annie is a young Navajo girl who refuses to believe that her grandmother, the Old One, will die. Sadly, Annie learns that she cannot change the course of life. Text copyright 2004 Lectorum Publications, Inc.
Paperback, 44 pages
Published May 30th 1985 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (first published 1971)
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3.87  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,006 ratings  ·  80 reviews

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Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
A quiet and reflective book about a young girl coming to terms with her grandmother's approaching death. The illustrations are also quiet but very lovely. Annie rebels against nature and tries to prevent time from passing. This does not work as well as she hoped it would, and her grandmother intervenes. Very warm and loving and pretty realistic.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Raise your hand if children books makes you cry?

Nov 16, 2018 rated it did not like it
Miles is not Navajo. In my opinion she has no business telling this story and quite frankly this book should not have won a Newberry medal. It has the look and feel of most of the 1970s pseudo indigenous children’s books and it’s just plainly inauthentic. Navajo stories need to be told by Navajo people. Simple.
Shawn Deal
Aug 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s
A beautiful book about a child processing grief of the death of her grandmother. Loved this one.
I do not know why this book got the Newbery Honor. I was not the least bit impressed with it. The story had elements of greatness, but I just couldn't get into it. I was also a little dismayed with how things turned out in the end, I didn't want to accept it as easily as the little girl did. The illustrations were okay, but I would have liked something with more color.

*Taken from my book reviews blog:
Treathyl Fox
Dec 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Incredibly touching story. Author touched on a sensitive topic which was explained very delicately. Also a good intro to Native American culture and traditions. Book review at
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was ok
I read this because it was another picture book that had won the Newbery award, like Last Stop on Market Street. It was an okay book, but one in which may not be the most accurate.
Sep 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Annie is a young Navajo girl who lives with her mother, father, and grandmother. Grandmother announces one day that she will be rejoining Mother Earth as soon as she finishes weaving her Navajo rug. Annie, distraught at the impending reality of life without Grandmother, begins to sabotage Grandmother's rug, hoping to delay inevitable. Grandmother takes Annie aside and lovingly explains that Annie must not try to stop time. She must respect Mother Earth and allow Grandmother to go peacefu
Whittney Davis
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: child-lit
“Annie and the Old One,” tells the story about the main character Annie, who is a Navajo Indian, and the relationships with her grandmother and family and learning to deal with life experiences. Annie’s grandmother, the Old One, says she will die after Annie’s mother finishes weaving a rug on the loom. The story tells of the ways Annie tries to prevent her mother from finishing the rug, and Annie’s grandmother explaining how death is a part of life and Annie will have to learn to accept this. Th ...more
Devon Ashby
Mar 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
I loved Everybody Needs a Rock so much that I went down a whole list of books with illustrations by Peter Parnall to see which ones we had at my bookstore. Annie and the Old One is a much wordier book than Everybody Needs a Rock, and Parnall's illustrations unfortunately fail to mesh as perfectly with the text. Byrd Baylor's sparse, poetic writing and Parnall's minimalist, experimental approach to Everybody Needs a Rock made the book really special for me. Annie and the Old One is more conventio ...more
mary dewley
Apr 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Annie's grandmother tells the family, "My children, when the new rug is taken from the loom, I will go to Mother Earth." From that day forward, Annie does whatever she can to prevent her mother from finishing the rug and save her grandmother's life. For children who may be struggling with an ill relative or have questions about death and dying, this book is highly recommended. Annie's grandmother shows us that we must not fear death, its is as natural as the setting sun or the changing of season ...more
"My children, when the new rug is taken from the loom, I will go to Mother Earth."

Annie tries everything to distract her mother from weaving so that her mother won't finish the rug she is working on. Finally, she begins to undo the work her mother has done for the day until her grandmother sees what she is doing. "My granddaughter ... you have tried to hold back time. This can not be done."
Jul 02, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: children
I did not realize the subject matter of this book when I checked it out from the library. I'm just going through older Newbery books and this was on the list. I would definitely preview it before reading to youngsters (It is about the death of a grandparent). Everything is handled very gently and the illustrations are beautiful.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: edlt-501
This is a touching story about the relationship between a Navajo girl and her grandmother. This book deserves its Newbery honor, and would be a resource to discuss death with children. This would be a great book to use for character traits too. I wasn't very impressed with the illustrations though, they are mostly back and white with a little bit of yellow and brown.
Tamara York
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Newbery Challenge 113/512. A beautiful longer picture book about a Native American girl coming to grips with the end of her grandmother’s life. Beautifully represents Native American culture and philosophy while gently discussing the circle of life. Recommend.
Feb 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The author use his mellow fine words painted a beautiful story about how a little girl's comprehension about the death where the story happened in the the Hogan set in the desert. An beautiful story with love and time lapse and the nature.
Kristen McBee
May 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: picture-books
A good story for older kids (it’s longer) about people dying of old age.
Emily Gingrich
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: caldecott-books
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Seema Rao
Mar 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
A tale of a native American girl and her mother. Something about this books is just odd and unappealing.
Jul 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
Would kids appreciate this beautiful book as much as I do?
Aimee Massey
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Genesis Rojas
Sep 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I really really appreciate this book. The story addresses Annie a young girl who really loves her grandmother dearly. The situation of her grandmother passing away comes to light and is expressed to happen once the weaving of a rug is completed. This leaves Annie incredibly distressed. She starts to take it upon herself to prevent that rug from getting finished. Annie starts doing things like letting sheep out of a pen just so she can disrupt the rug from getting done. Eventually her grandmother ...more
Feb 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: native-american
An old wise Navajo woman explains to her family that when her daughter is finished weaving the blanket on her loom she will "go to Mother Earth." Annie is close with her grandmother and is distraught upon hearing of her imminent death. Annie thinks she can prolong the Old One's life by slowing down the weaving process. Delay antics ensue with Annie at the helm. Annie releases the sheep and misbehaves at school in attempts to get her Mom away from the loom. The Old One even catches Annie unraveli ...more
Stephanie Delvecchio
Jan 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Annie and the Old One, written by Miska Miles and illustrated by Peter Parnall, is a Newbery Honor Book. In this book, Annie learns that her grandmother will die soon. Her grandmother tells everybody that when the woven rug is finish, it will be her time to go. Therefore, Annie does everything she can to stop the rug from getting finished. When her grandmother realizes that this is what she is doing, she takes her aside and explains to her that there is nothing she can do to stop time. Annie com ...more
Oct 03, 2008 rated it liked it
Summary: Annie lives with father, mother, and grandmother. She and her grandmother are very close. One day, Annie's grandma says that once the rug is completed, she will return to Mother Nature. Annie is afraid and doesn't want her grandmother to die. She tries to cause trouble which will stop the rug from being finished. When her attempts fail, Annie begins to take apart the rug. Her grandmother catches on and explains that Annie cannot stop her from dying. Annie understands and accepts her gra ...more
Leslie Morrison
This story tells about Annie, a young Navaho girl who is having trouble accepting the idea that her elderly grandmother will soon die. Annie's grandmother seems to know that when her rug has been completely woven, she will pass away. Annie tries to change this outcome by trying to prevent the rug from being finished. Finally Annie comes to understand that death is a natural part of life, and she finally accepts what is to come. Through love, patience, and understanding, Annie's family helps her ...more
Isabel Orama
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Annie is a young Navajo girl.she lives in the desert with her family members.: her daddy,mommy,& her grandmother.when her mother,father,& Annie find out that when the rug is finished her grandmother must die,& go into mother Earth to rest.Annie does bad in school so her mother nor grandmother cannot' finish weaving the rug.The things that Annie does is,to be bad in school,open the gate so the sheep can run off,& she pulls off some of the weaving strings.The bad things she Does is ...more
Oct 06, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: jenna, my-library
Genre: Picture Book

Reading Level: Early Transitional

Topics & Themes: Dealing with grandmother's death. The elderly. Family. Navajo culture. Environment. Time.

Curricular Use: Independent reading, recommended for students dealing with a loss or use in conjunction with lessons on Native American culture

Social: Navajo Indian culture. Acceptance of death of a relative. Respect for the elderly.

Literary Elements: Symbolism of death compared to the earth “the sun rose but it also set” “The cactus
Linda Lipko
This 1972 Newbery honor was yet another Newbery that deals wisely, astutely and beautifully with a difficult subject.

Young, Navajo Indian child, Annie loves her grandmother with all her heart. When her grandmother tells her that she will pass away when the last thread is woven on a rug that Annie's mother is weaving, Annie results to extreme measures to ensure the rug is not finished.

Like so many of us, the inevitability of death is a difficult concept. Loss, grief, fear and pain are emotions we
Rosa Cline
This book won the Newberry Honor. This is an Navajo Indian story. A little girl lives with her parents and her grandmother 'the Old One'. She loves her grandmother dearly. But one day her grandmother tells the family that by the time the weaving is done she will pass. The little girl tries all she can to make her mother not weave; but the Old One catches on and tells her that she can not stop time. This is beautifully written and may help children to accept death of a family member. In the end t ...more
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Patricia Miles Martin aka Miska Miles

Award winning American author. Born in Kansas in 1899. Worked as a teacher before becoming a writer. Apparently she became a writer by accident when she inadvertently found herself in a creative writing class at a local college when her own class was full up. Her first book was actually written whilst attending the course! Her career became very successful. One