Teaching Abuelo’s Flower Shop

A Note to the Reader

I’m so excited to welcome Jackie Morera to the blog to talk about her beautiful new book, Abuelo’s Flower Shop. This new book will help readers explore grief and loss and will be a fantastic addition to any classroom!


Teaching Abuelo’s Flower Shop

Tell us about your book.

Abuelo’s Flower Shop is a story about a young girl who, while working alongside her abuelo in his flower shop, discovers the heartbreaking truth about the garden across the way and learns how their flowers help send a very special message to those in need. The book is loosely inspired by my own experience. Like Elena’s abuelo, my grandparents sold flowers from the street in front of their Miami home, which sat catty-cornered from a cemetery.

However, the heart of Abuelo’s Flower Shop—discovering the truth about the garden across the street—is entirely Elena’s story. That came from asking myself “What if?” What if I had paid closer attention when I was younger? What if my grandfather and I had that conversation? How might that have played out? And so, a story was born.


What do you hope your young readers will take away from your book?

I hope they’ll walk away from the story with the confidence to ask questions, even (and maybe especially) when it may be uncomfortable to do so. Elena’s story is largely one about understanding loss and empathizing with those who are grieving, but at its core, it’s about a little girl who asks “Why?”


How might a teacher or librarian use your book in the classroom?

Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15-October 15) would be an excellent time to share Abuelo’s Flower Shop with students but there are other instances where this story would be a good fit as well.

The primary message of the text is empathy and growing awareness of what others around you might be experiencing. There is also a tie to immigration, the working class, and the community.

And then, of course, the story gently explores grief and loss, which is something we often aim to shield the young people in our lives from but, should students need additional resources on the topic, I hope Abuelo’s Flower Shop serves as a helpful tool in opening a dialogue. Additionally, one might also use this text in the classroom to encourage students to “mine their memories” when looking for inspiration to craft a story. Just like I did!


Can you share an exercise or activity that teachers can do with students after they’ve read your book?

Of course! I partnered with the talented Molly Ippolito of The Sunny Side to create an educator’s guide for Abuelo’s Flower Shop. Together we built many activities for students grades K-5 to use alongside my book. One of my favorites is the social-emotional activity inviting students to “Honor a Loved One.” Using a flower graphic, students will reflect on a loved one (either someone who is currently living or someone who has died) and will write what they love about the person they are honoring in each petal. This activity encourages speaking and listening skills. The complete educator’s guide, as well as other classroom activities, is available to download for free on my website www.jmorerabooks.com/resources.


What book(s) pair well with your book?

There are several wonderful books that help readers explore grief and loss. Some of my favorites are The Heart and The Bottle, by Oliver Jeffers, The Rough Patch, by Brian Lies, and Missing Violet, by Kelly Swemba. Abuelo’s Flower Shop also pairs well with books that feature latinx representation, intergenerational families, or the immigrant and working-class experience. Karina N. Gonzalez’s The Churro Stand and Antwan Eady’s The Last Stand come to mind and are both books I adore!


About the author

Jackie Morera is a Cuban-American author of books for young readers of all ages. Born and raised in Miami, Jackie lives in Central Florida with her husband, son, and goofy pup. She enjoys telling stories, savoring pastelitos, and cozying up for a good nap. Abuelo’s Flower Shop, illustrated by Deise Lino, is her debut picture book. Jackie’s sophomore picture book, Together We Remember, is scheduled for a Summer 2025 release by Make Me a World/PRH.


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