Monday, April 22, 2019

Book of the Week: Ojiichan's Gift

by Chieri Uegaki

Illustrated by Genevieve Simms

Published by Kids Can Press, 2019
32 pages
ISBN: 978-1-77138-963-1

Ages 5-8

Mayumi visits her grandfather in Japan for two months every summer, helping him care for the rock garden he made when she was born. “She learned that moss on a rock was a gift of time … And that clipping shrubs to look like clouds was the best of all reasons to prune.” Back home, her small tin of keepsakes—leaves, pinecones, a stone—helps her remember their time together. Then comes a visit when it seems everything has changed—Ojiichan is in a wheelchair, unable to care for the neglected garden. As her parents help pack his things for a move, Mayumi takes her upset and anger out on the garden until an idea blossoms—a way Mayumi can keep herself and Ojiichan connected to the garden and each other. A lyrical narrative of keen detail and emotional grace offers readers and listeners opportunities to relate and reflect as it reveals how Mayumi’s connection to her grandfather and his garden are things she carries inside her, in addition to inside her small, tangible box of memories. Mayumi is biracial (Japanese/white) in this story supported with lovely watercolor illustrations. ©2019 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

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