Granny Torrelli Makes Soup

by Sharon Creech (2003)

Sharon Creech, the Newbery Award winning author, knows how to artistically blend a variety of harmonic notes together to tell a soulful story and uplift our spirits, and she does so in Granny Torrelli Makes Soup. In 134 pages, Granny Torrelli Makes Soup is a perfect little introduction to narrative prose for students and their families. It offers the simple premise that best friends are timeless, magical, and most-definitely tested over time. Creech allows her beloved Granny Torrelli character to repeatedly remind us to ‘sense’ the big picture in life even when we can’t ‘see’ it.

Granny Torrelli uses the close-quarters of her kitchen space to teach her own life stories and share her own missed directions to her twelve-year-old granddaughter Rosie and Rosie’s nearest-dearest friend, Bailey, who is visually impaired. At the same time, she teaches family soup and pasta recipes and proper ingredient blending. Soup is literally the mixing of choices placed in a pot. Life is figuratively the mixing of choices placed in a pot.

Parallel to Granny’s stories from long ago, Rosie and Bailey must grapple with new, coeval neighbors vying for their attentions and adoration. Jealousy blossoms. Studying and learning Braille even becomes an awkward source of connection between Rosie and Bailey, and Bailey and the ‘other girl’, Janine.

Throughout, love is affirmed, but it is also tested. The reverence Granny discovers for connections she walked away from as a young woman in Italy impacts Rosie and Bailey and changes their own connection. As the pages turn, their friendship becomes more intertwined and blended into on. Granny Torrelli Makes Soup teaches us all that jealousy will definitely present itself in our lives, but cannot always destroy strong bonds. More importantly, in the random, unexpected ingredients of life, lie some of the richest dishes to share.