Review: Ojiichan’s Gift by Chieri Uegaki

ojichan's giftWhen 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.


My Review:

Heartwarming tale with beautiful illustrations.

One of the things I loved about this storybook was that it showcases family love. Although Grandpa lived far away from Mayumi, he still was a part of her life through the garden he created for her. The ending is poignant.

I received and ARC from the publisher.


Thank you, Ms. Uegaki, for this beautiful story.

This book releases April 2, 2019.  You can pre-order on Amazon.

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Review: Squint by Chad Morris and Shelly Brown

 

My name is Flint, but everyone in middle school calls me Squint because I’m losing my vision. I used to play football, but not anymore. I haven t had a friend in a long time. Thankfully, real friends can see the real you, even when you can’t clearly see.

Flint loves to draw. In fact, he’s furiously trying to finish his comic book so he can be the youngest winner of the Find a Comic Star contest. He s also rushing to finish because he has keratoconus an eye disease that could eventually make him blind.

McKell is the new girl at school and immediately hangs with the popular kids. Except McKell’s not a fan of the way her friends treat this boy named Squint. He seems nice and really talented. He draws awesome pictures of superheroes. McKell wants to get to know him, but is it worth the risk? What if her friends catch her hanging with the kid who squints all the time?

McKell has a hidden talent of her own but doesn’t share it for fear of being judged. Her terminally ill brother, Danny, challenges McKell to share her love of poetry and songwriting. Flint seems like someone she could trust. Someone who would never laugh at her. Someone who is as good and brave as the superhero in Flint’s comic book named Squint.

Squint is the inspiring story of two new friends dealing with their own challenges, who learn to trust each other, believe in themselves, and begin to truly see what matters most.

 


My Review:

What can I say with out giving things away? This is a heart warming story about a 13 year old boy with a serious vision problem. He loses more than football when his vision changes, and it’s a classmate named McKell and her brother Danny that help him see, really see, the world around him. This is a story that will have you smiling, crying, and laughing.

I received an ARC from the publisher and voluntarily leave this review.

Book Review: The Vicar’s Daughter

The Vicar's DaughterThe Vicar’s Daughter by Josi S. Kilpack

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book both caught my interest, and had me wondering how could it possibly have a happy ending.  I like happy endings.

I didn’t start off loving it.  On the contrary, I had trouble liking Cassie. She had a decided selfish streak, even though she convinced herself she was pretending to be her sister, for her sister’s sake. Yet, but the end, I loved this book. I loved the change in Cassie, and her sister.  And I loved Evan, out of place Evan, honorable Evan.

I like many of the Proper Romance Regencies from Shadow Mountain. (Edenbrooke, anyone?)  Ms. Kilpack sometimes is a bit on the racier side with the steamy kisses (and this book has steam a plenty for our young lovers).  Characters go through tremendous growth. They are very real.

This is a beautiful story about God’s grace, family love, being sisters, and learning to accept your own flaws and limitations.

I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.