Precious moments

OJIICHAN’S GIFT

Written by Chieri Uegaki, illustrated by Genevieve Simms (Boston: Kids Can Press, 2019, 32 pp., $16.99, hard cover)

For those of us who are lucky enough to have an ojiichan (grandfather) or memories of one, this is a sentimental story.

Young Mayumi recalls past summer visits with her grandfather halfway around the world in Japan. While he slept, she’d smooth the garden he built for her. Now he uses a wheelchair.

Angry that they can’t have fun together anymore, she stomps around the garden and pulls out a rake to smooth the gravel. Then she has an idea.

Mayumi builds a small garden in a lacquer bento box and gives it to Ojiichan as a parting gift. She arranges pinecones and stones carefully in a gift box.

The illustrations by Genevieve Simms are endearing. Who wouldn’t want to take little Mayumi home?

The text is vivid. When the author writes, “… And in just the right spot, by a stone lantern and a persimmon tree, was a sheltered bench where Ojiichan and Mayumi would share onigiri bento packed in a lacquered box,” my mouth watered.

“Ojiichan’s Gift” is appropriate reading for kindergarten through third grade students. A free extensive seven-page Teaching Guide is also available on the Kids Can Press Website.

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