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Children's Fiction Multigenerational

Green Papayas

by (author) Nhung Tran Davies

illustrated by Gillian Newland

Red Deer Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2023
Multigenerational, Asia
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 9
  • Grade: k to 4


Author Nhung Tran-Davies relives her family's story as refugees from the Vietnam War and their journey from a Malaysian refugee camp to their new home in Canada.

Oma has been in hospital,
for four suns and three moons.
Thinner, silver-haired, and wrinkly.
She smiles. She hugs. And then she asks,
"What's your name, my dear?"
In the warmth of her love we press close,
holding her hands.
Then Mama says...

"Let me tell you a story, about a woman.
Across the ocean, across the sea,
in a land of green papayas, mandolins,
and rice paddies."

Green Papayas is the story of a family's time with their aging grandmother (Oma) who is in hospital. Through Mama's recollections of the past they are reminded of Oma's courage in shepherding her family through war and across the ocean to safety. They learn of the past hardships that defined their grandmother and which gave them the opportunities to accomplish their dreams in their new home in Canada. After Oma passes away, they cherish the memory of this remarkable woman, and the sacrifices she made to ensure that her children and grandchildren, would be free to dream.

The lessons shared by Mama about the sacrifices made by Oma to get the family safely to a new home across the ocean ensures that her legacy will live on through her grandchildren.

About the authors

Nhung N. Tran-Davies is a physician and advocate for social justice through education. Her family came to Canada as refugees from Vietnam in 1978. Nhung and her family live outside Edmonton, Alberta.

Nhung Tran Davies' profile page


Gillian Newland est une artiste qui travaille principalement à l'aquarelle, à l'encre et au crayon. Elle trouve son inspiration en dessinant à l'extérieur de son studio. On la voit parfois dans un café, en train de faire des croquis des autres clients. Elle a illustré The Magician of Auschwitz et de nombreux autres livres. Gillian vit à Toronto.


Gillian Newland is an artist who lives and works in Toronto. In addition to illustrating a number of picture books, her artwork can be seen on several young adult novels and in magazines. She has won the Ruth Schwartz Award and been nominated for the Lane Anderson Award.


Gillian Newland's profile page

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