Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
- Age: 4 to 8
- Grade: p to 3
A joyful celebration of Japanese cultural traditions and body positivity as a young girl visits a bath house with her grandmother and aunties
NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY New York Public Library • NPR • Publishers Weekly • Kirkus Reviews • Horn Book • The American Library Association • ALA Rise: A Feminist Book Project
You'll walk down the street / Your aunties sounding like clip-clopping horses / geta-geta-geta / in their wooden sandals / Until you arrive... / At the bath house / The big bath house.
In this celebration of Japanese culture and family and naked bodies of all shapes and sizes, join a little girl--along with her aunties and grandmother--at a traditional bath house. Once there, the rituals leading up to the baths begin: hair washing, back scrubbing, and, finally, the wood barrel drumroll. Until, at last, it's time, and they ease their bodies--their creased bodies, newly sprouting bodies, saggy, jiggly bodies--into the bath. Ahhhhhh!
With a lyrical text and gorgeous illustrations, this picture book is based on Kyo Maclear's loving memories of childhood visits to Japan, and is an ode to the ties that bind generations of women together.
About the authors
KYO MACLEAR was born in London and grew up in Toronto as the only child of a foreign correspondent. Her father reported on some significant world events, including recording the first interviews with American POWs in North Vietnam. While Stray Love is entirely a work of fiction, it is informed by her experiences living with her father. Her first novel, The Letter Opener (2007), was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artists Award and shortlisted for the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. Maclear is also an award-winning visual arts writer and the author of two children’s books: Spork (2010) and Virginia Wolf (2012). Visit her online at www.kyomaclear.ca.
Gracey Zhang is an illustrator and animator with a love of storytelling and verse. She is the author and illustrator of Lala's Words and the illustrator of The Big Bath House, Nigel and the Moon, and The Upside Down Hat. She was born and raised in Vancouver, Canada, and received her degree in Illustration from RISD. Gracey is now based in Brooklyn, New York, where she can be found window watching from the train when she's not scribbling away at her desk. You can visit her at graceyzhang.com.
★ "A must-have celebration of cultural understanding and community—and the joy of family." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
★ "Maclear and Zhang portray with great warmth the nourishment offered by this cultural institution, making clear to readers the ritual’s cozy, home-away-from-home feeling." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
★ " …a warm and tender story of time with beloved distant family.” —The Bulletin, starred review
★ "Zhang's bouyant illustrations in ink, gouache, and watercolors match the water-focused story with transparent, watery hues anchored by strong black outlining. —The Horn Book, starred review
★ “[An] exuberant celebration of family.” —BookPage, starred review