Ojiichan's Gift

Chieri Uegaki
Genevieve Simms

When Mayumi was born, her grandfather created a garden for her. It was unlike any other garden she knew. It had no flowers or vegetables. Instead, Ojiichan made it out of stones: “big ones, little ones and ones in-between.” Every summer, Mayumi visits her grandfather in Japan, and they tend the garden together. Raking the gravel is her favorite part. Afterward, the two of them sit on a bench and enjoy the results of their efforts in happy silence. But then one summer, everything changes. Ojiichan has grown too old to care for his home and the garden. He has to move. Will Mayumi find a way to keep the memory of the garden alive for both of them?

This gentle picture book story will warm children's hearts as it explores a deep intergenerational bond and the passing of knowledge from grandparent to grandchild over time. The lyrical text by Chieri Uegaki and luminous watercolor illustrations by Genevieve Simms beautifully capture the emotional arc of the story, from Mayumi's contentment through her anger and disappointment to, finally, her acceptance. The story focuses on an important connection to nature, particularly as a place for quiet reflection. It contains character education lessons on caring, responsibility, perseverance and initiative. It's also a wonderful way to introduce social studies conversations about family, aging and multiculturalism. Mayumi lives in North America with her Japanese mother and Dutch father, and visits her grandfather in Japan. Some Japanese words are included.

978-1-77138-963-1 | Apr 2, 2019
List Price: USD $19.99, CAD $21.99
4-color 9 x 9 32 pages
Grades: PreSchool To 2 / Ages: 3 to 7
978-1-5253-0291-6 | Apr 2, 2019
List Price: USD $9.99, CAD $9.99

Awards & Reviews

“Like a garden, this meticulously composed work will bring readers serenity and joy.”
— Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review, January 2019
“... a solid purchase for picture book collections, especially where stories about processing emotions are needed.”
— School Library Journal, April 2019
“A rewarding Canadian picture book.”
— Booklist, April 2019
“... lovely ...”
— The Globe and Mail, May 2019
“... a warm and satisfying story ...”
— CM Magazine, May 2019
“... a quiet look at traditions, change, and the special relationships between grandparents and children.”
— Horn Book, July 2019
“... Uegaki gingerly explores the strong emotions that accompany a loss and the mementos that can soften grief.”
— Publishers Weekly, July 2019
“... vibrant and quietly strong.”
— Canadian Children's Book News, October 2019
“Young readers will relate to the vivid, bodily ways that the book explores Mayumi's feelings through action.”
— ABQLA, December 2019
2021 - Chocolate Lily Book Award - Picture Book Category, Short-listed
2020 - Skipping Stones Honor List, Skipping Stones Magazine, Winner
2019 - Best Picture Books of 2019 List, Kirkus Reviews, Winner
2019 - Best Books for Kids & Teens, Starred Selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre, Winner
2019 - Best Spiritual Children's Books of the Year list, Spirituality and Practice, Winner
2019 - Ezra Jack Keats Award, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation, Nominee

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