The sour cherry tree

Naseem Hrab

Book - 2021

After her grandfather's death, a young girl explores her Baba Bazorg's house. As the girl wanders through the house, almost idly, her Baba Bazorg's house stands in for the man himself, with each object she describes standing as a touchstone to a memory, and each memory serving as a window into the relationship between the child and her grandfather. As she looks through its rooms, the things she sees and the object she touches bring to life memories of the man she knew, and also th...e man she didn't know.

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Subjects
Genres
Picture books
Published
Toronto, Ontario ; Berkeley, California : Owlkids Books 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 29 cm
ISBN
9781771474146
1771474149
Main Author
Naseem Hrab (author)
Other Authors
Nahid Kazemi (illustrator)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* This touching story examines grief from one child's perspective after she loses her beloved Iranian grandfather, Baba Borzorg. The little girl visits his now-empty home with her mother. Objects in different rooms stir up tender memories of her grandfather, which help the little girl process her grief. She recalls her granddad snoring during a nap and remembers jumping on his bed to wake him up. She thinks about the mints he always kept in his pockets. She remembers how her grandfather shared fig cookies with her, even though she didn't care for them. Although the grandfather spoke Farsi and the granddaughter does not, they found special ways to connect and bond. The soft-colored, wispy drawings created from chalk pastel beautifully capture the tenderness of the story. The words, though simple and spare, articulate the feelings of grief and loss while capturing the charm and matter-of-factness of the world through the child's eyes. Hrab's writing, together with Kazemi's illustrations, evoke the loving relationship that the child and her grandfather shared as well as the emptiness she feels now that he is gone. A universally relatable story that articulates a difficult concept for younger audiences, with a heartfelt message about loss and the memories of loved ones. Grades K-3. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* This touching story examines grief from one child's perspective after she loses her beloved Iranian grandfather, Baba Borzorg. The little girl visits his now-empty home with her mother. Objects in different rooms stir up tender memories of her grandfather, which help the little girl process her grief. She recalls her granddad snoring during a nap and remembers jumping on his bed to wake him up. She thinks about the mints he always kept in his pockets. She remembers how her grandfather shared fig cookies with her, even though she didn't care for them. Although the grandfather spoke Farsi and the granddaughter does not, they found special ways to connect and bond. The soft-colored, wispy drawings created from chalk pastel beautifully capture the tenderness of the story. The words, though simple and spare, articulate the feelings of grief and loss while capturing the charm and matter-of-factness of the world through the child's eyes. Hrab's writing, together with Kazemi's illustrations, evoke the loving relationship that the child and her grandfather shared as well as the emptiness she feels now that he is gone. A universally relatable story that articulates a difficult concept for younger audiences, with a heartfelt message about loss and the memories of loved ones. Grades K-3. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by School Library Journal Reviews

PreS-Gr 1—This book on grief and the passing of a grandparent perfectly encapsulates a child's perspective. The death of Baba Bozorg happened the day before, and now a small girl and her mother go to his house to "take care of a few things." The bed where the child often found him napping is empty, but rumpled, as if he has just left it for a moment. His tea cup is by the samovar, where he enjoyed Ceylon with a splash of rose water and a fig cookie. He always offered a cookie to the narrator; she never liked figs, but took the offering anyway. He didn't speak much English; she spoke little Farsi. But they communicated in other ways, sharing a wink or a smile. She slips into his closet to remember. From there, she spies the sour cherry tree in his front yard, which he planted when the girl's mother was her own age. "Whenever we left Baba Bozorg's house, he would wave at us until I couldn't see him anymore." That's the last line of the book, as wistful as the casual mention that Baba Bozorg was a published poet in Iran, with an illustration of him in a book of his writings. Kazemi's soft pictures have a diffused quality; this is the past, this is the present, it doesn't matter. VERDICT This book gives voice to the hidden aspects of grief, the small token, the remembered word or gesture that defines memories. It's an essential guide to mourning, in its earliest stages, for the young.—Kimberly Olson Fakih, School Library Journal Copyright 2021 School Library Journal.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

A heartwarming look at love, loss, and memorable objects through the eyes of a child by critically-acclaimed creators Naseem Hrab and Nahid Kazemi"Deeply evocative ... A beautifully poignant celebration of memories of a loved one that live on in those that remain." — Kirkus Reviews – STARRED REVIEWAfter her grandfather’s death, a young girl wanders through his house. As she tours each room, the objects she discovers stir memories of her grandfather—her baba bozorg. His closet full of clothes reminds her of the mints he kept in his pockets. His favorite teacup conjures thoughts of the fig cookies he would offer her. The curtains in the living room bring up memories of hide-and-seek games and the special relationship that she and her baba bozorg shared, even though they spoke different languages.The Sour Cherry Tree is an authentic look at death and loss centred on the experiences of a child, both strikingly whimsical and matter-of-fact. Drawing on the Iranian-Canadian author’s childhood memories, this tender meditation on grief, love, and memory is at once culturally specific and universally relatable.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

A heartwarming look at love, loss, and memorable objects through the eyes of a child