The Wakame Gatherers

by Holly Thompson and Kazumi Wilds

Nanami has two grandmothers: Gram, who lives in Maine, and Baachan, who lives with... read more

Nanami has two grandmothers: Gram, who lives in Maine, and Baachan, who lives with Nanami’s family in Japan. Both live in seaside towns, but neither woman speaks the other’s language. While Gram is visiting, Nanami acts as translator on an outing to collect wakame seaweed. For Nanami, a moment of childlike delight as she asks Bachaan about gathering wakame when she was a child turns into one of painful understanding: once, when they were young, her two grandmothers were on opposite side of a war, one in which American bombs left Baachan motherless. But the pain is transcended by the obvious bond that the two women now share in their mutual respect and appreciation for nature, and their love for their granddaughter. Holly Thompson’s warmly told, richly detailed story, illustrated by Japanese artist Kazumi Wilds, is a celebration of family. (Ages 5–8)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2008

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