When Maya’s grandma makes a surprise visit from thousands of miles away, Maya is delighted. But her excitement doesn’t last long. When Grandma picks her up from school, she wears fancy clothes and talks too loudly. Grandma’s morning prayer bells wake Maya up, and she cooks with ingredients Maya doesn’t usually eat. Plus, Maya thinks cupcakes taste better than Grandma’s homemade sweets.
Maya and Grandma try to compromise, and on a special trip to the island Grandma even wears an “all-American” baseball cap. But when Maya rushes off to find the carousel, she loses sight of her mother, father and grandmother. She is alone in a sea of people — until she spots something bobbing above the crowd, and right away she knows how to find her way.
Saumiya Balasubramaniam’s story is an insightful and endearing portrayal of a grandparent-grandchild relationship that is evolving and deeply loving, as Maya and Grandma navigate cross-cultural contexts and generational differences. Qin Leng’s sweet, evocative illustrations complement the story and illuminate Grandma and Maya’s growing closeness.
Saumiya Balasubramaniam has a Masters in Computer Science and a passion for writing. She received the prestigious Bram and Bluma Appel Scholarship from the Humber School for Writers. The manuscript for When I Found Grandma, her debut picture book, was a finalist in the children’s writing competition held by CANSCAIP (Canadian Society of Children’s Authors, Illustrators and Performers) and TWUC (The Writers’ Union of Canada). She has also written essays for the Times of India and the Globe and Mail. Saumiya lives with her family in Toronto.
Qin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin, written by Chieri Uegaki, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award and received the APALA Award for best picture book. Her recent books include The Better Tree Fort by Jessica Scott Kerrin, as well as Away by Emil Sher and A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary, which were both selected for USBBY’s Outstanding International Books List.
Praise for When I Found Grandma:
“This gently moving story explores cross-cultural connections in a deeply meaningful way and Leng’s ink and watercolour illustrations wonderfully extend the story.” — Globe and Mail
“Discovering and embracing differences leads to stronger bonds between family members, Balasubramaniam asserts in this subtle, heartfelt story.” — Publishers Weekly
“Balasubramaniam’s honest first-person text and Leng’s soft line-and-color illustrations — which deftly and sympathetically convey the intensity of Maya’s feelings — explore familial love and the intricacies of cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships between very young children and their grandparents.” — Kirkus Reviews
Praise for A Better Tree Fort by Jessica Scott Kerrin, illustrated by Qin Leng:
“Artist Qin Leng embellishes Kerrin’s thoughtful narrative with whimsical ink, watercolor and pencil crayon illustrations that emphasize and celebrate the parent/child partnership as collaborators and adventurers — especially their supportive companionship and wordless understanding.” — Shelf Awareness, starred review
Praise for Away by Emil Sher, illustrated by Qin Leng:
“With an entertainingly offbeat storytelling format and fantastic artwork full of eye-catching details … this endearing picture book with an empowering message of bravery will surely resonate with little ones nervous about their own burgeoning independence.” — Booklist, starred review
“Leng’s breathy illustrations exude the easy energy of the characters while bringing their deceptively simple notes to full emotional life … Untrammeled and honest.” — Kirkus, starred review
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