A Garden Called Home (Hardcover)

A Garden Called Home By Jessica J. Lee, Elaine Chen (Illustrator) Cover Image

A Garden Called Home (Hardcover)

By Jessica J. Lee, Elaine Chen (Illustrator)


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What makes the place we live feel like home? This is a warm-hearted and lush picture book about family, the immigrant experience and how a simple garden can foster a connection to the larger natural world.

Mama was born in a country far away from here. I love her stories about warm rain in winter and green mountains. And now Mama's taking me there!

When a young girl and her mother go to visit her family, the girl notices a change. At home, her mother mostly stays inside. Here, her mother likes to explore and go hiking. The girl has never seen her so happy! Her mother tells her about the trees, bushes, flowers and birds. Did you know that tree roots make mountains strong? And that ài hāo (mugwort) is used to make delicious, sweet dumplings?

But her mother's smile goes away when they return home. It's cold and she doesn't want to go outside. She goes back to wearing her big quilted jackets and watering her houseplants.

How can the girl show her mother that nature here can be wondrous too?

Includes a glossary of plants with Mandarin/English words.
JESSICA J. LEE is a British-Canadian-Taiwanese author, environmental historian, and winner of the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, the Boardman Tasker Award for Mountain Literature, the Banff Mountain Book Award, and the RBC Taylor Prize Emerging Writer Award. She has written three books of nature writing for adults, Turning, Two Trees Make a Forest, and Dispersals, and is co-editor of an anthology about dogs titled Dog Hearted. Jessica teaches creative writing at the University of Cambridge and lives in Berlin, Germany.

ELAINE CHEN’s love for art began when her mother enrolled her in an art class back in Hangzhou, China, before immigrating to Toronto, Ontario, at the age of ten. Elaine went on to earn her Bachelor of Animation from Sheridan College. She recently illustrated the picture book My Day With Gong Gong, written by Sennah Yee, which was nominated for a Blue Spruce Award and was named a Kirkus and CBC Best Book. Elaine currently works as a video game artist and children's book illustrator in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Product Details ISBN: 9781774880470
ISBN-10: 1774880474
Publisher: Tundra Books
Publication Date: February 6th, 2024
Pages: 48
Language: English
“This beautiful story of love, resilience, and family will appeal to readers of all ages.” STARRED REVIEW, School Library Journal

"[A] heartening reminder to hold on to our inherited seeds wherever we go, allowing them to bloom in all the places we come to call home." STARRED REVIEW, Quill and Quire

"Chen captures the beauty of both settings and the emotions of the main characters in a series of colorful, expressive gouache paintings. Lee writes with sensitivity for both the child and the mother. An encouraging picture book, particularly for other children of immigrants." —Booklist

“An endearing tale about the importance of fostering love and connection—no matter where home is.” —Kirkus Reviews

"[A] tender familial narrative. . . . Lee’s lovable characters, portrayed with pale skin and dark hair, organically introduce the natural world into the story line, and Chen’s digitally edited gouache illustrations depict the impact of getting to know its diversity." —Publishers Weekly

"[A] delicately told and sensitive story that revolves around an evolving mother-daughter relationship through which it explores two complementary themes that pertain to the experience of immigration." —Canadian Review of Materials

"A Garden Called Home begins with a tough premise. The girl’s responsibility for her mother’s emotional renewal could have ended in sadness. Instead, her fascination with the environment, her persistence in expressing that experience, and her mother’s hidden strength, allow their life together to bloom." Imaginary Elevators