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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, Death & Dying, Emigration & Immigration
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2023
    List Price

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Where to buy it

Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 5 to 9
  • Grade: k to 4


While Oma (grandmother) lies in her hospital bed, Mama reminds them all of Oma’s courage in shepherding her family through war and across the ocean to safety. After Oma passes away, they cherish the memory of this remarkable woman, and the sacrifices she made to ensure that her children, and her grandchildren, would be free to dream.

About the authors

Nhung Tran-Davies is a physician, author, mother of three and an advocate for social justice through education. Born in Vietnam, the youngest of six children, she was five when she and her family came to Canada in 1979 after spending eight months in a Malaysian refugee camp. Green Papayas is her fifth picture book. She lives in Calmar, 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

Editorial Reviews

"Green Papayas is a sensitive and memorably thoughtful picture book story by Nhung Tan-Davies that is enriched and illustrated by the museum quality artwork of Gillian Newland. Green Papayas is especially and unreservedly recommended for family, elementary school, and community library collections for children ages 5-9."

"Nhung N Tran-Davies' Green Papayas is a story within a story. In this beautifully illustrated picture book, a child and their siblings visit their aging grandmother in the hospital. Despite her failing memory, Oma still spreads love and warmth. These scenes, along with their illustrations, are solemn yet tender-hearted. Even though Oma may not remember her grandchild's name, the intergenerational love that connects them shines through the pages.
   "In between these moments, we alternate between the present and the past as Mama tells the children a story, sharing memories of a strong, selfless matriarch who raised six children through poverty and war and later brought them halfway across the world - an homage captured through Gillian Newland's sincere illustrations, depictions of Oma's resilience. Mama establishes Oma's legacy in her stead, passing down her story to the younger generations so that she can remain with them even after she has gone, lingering in their memories.
   "The two sections, present and past, build off baselines or stanzas to create cohesion and simplicity throughout the book, which works great as a read-aloud. An important bedtime read about remembering the incredible stories of our elders."

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