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Children's Fiction Multigenerational

Ojiichan's Gift

by (author) Chieri Uegaki

illustrated by Genevieve Simms

Kids Can Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2019
Multigenerational, Art & Architecture, Asia
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2019
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 3 to 7
  • Grade: p to 2
  • Reading age: 3 to 7


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.

About the authors

Chieri Uegaki est une Canadienne d'origine japonaise, née en Colombie-Britannique. Sa carrière a commencé à l'âge de 7 ans lorsque le journal familial The Pender Street Times a été publié. Elle a par la suite raffiné son style en suivant des études de littérature à l'Université de la Colombie-Britannique. Son premier album, Le kimono de Suki a connu beaucoup de succès et Rosie et Capucine suit ses traces.


Chieri Uegaki is a graduate of the creative writing department at the University of British Columbia. Suki's Kimono is her first published work. She lives in Sechelt, British Columbia.

Chieri Uegaki's profile page

Sarah Sawler  is the author of 100 Things You Don't Know About Nova Scotia. She writes a monthly column for Atlantic Books Today called “Origin Stories,” and her freelance work appears regularly in Halifax Magazine and Atlantic Business Magazine. She lives in Halifax with her partner, two children, one dog, one cat, and one bearded dragon.

Genevieve Simms' profile page


  • Short-listed, Chocolate Lily Book Award - Picture Book Category
  • Winner, Skipping Stones Honor List, Skipping Stones Magazine
  • Winner, Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection, Canadian Children's Book Centre
  • Winner, Best Picture Books of 2019 List, Kirkus Reviews
  • Ezra Jack Keats Award, Ezra Jack Keats Foundation
  • Winner, Best Spiritual Children's Books of the Year list, Spirituality and Practice

Editorial Reviews

... a solid purchase for picture book collections, especially where stories about processing emotions are needed.

School Library Journal

Young readers will relate to the vivid, bodily ways that the book explores Mayumi's feelings through action.—ABQLA

... vibrant and quietly strong.—Canadian Children's Book News

... lovely ...—The Globe and Mail

Like a garden, this meticulously composed work will bring readers serenity and joy.

Kirkus Reviews, starred review

... Uegaki gingerly explores the strong emotions that accompany a loss and the mementos that can soften grief.—Publishers Weekly

A rewarding Canadian picture book.


... a quiet look at traditions, change, and the special relationships between grandparents and children.—Horn Book

... a warm and satisfying story ...—CM Magazine

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