Mai and the Missing Melon (Hardcover)

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Mai and the Missing Melon By Sonoko Sakai, Keiko Brodeur (Illustrator) Cover Image

Mai and the Missing Melon (Hardcover)

By Sonoko Sakai, Keiko Brodeur (Illustrator)


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An exploration of Japanese food, culture, and history that celebrates the special relationship between a child, her grandmother, and the power of kindness, for kids 3-7, by the author of Japanese Home Cooking, Sonoko Sakai.

This charming story invites the reader on a journey through rural 1960s Japan following a little girl named Mai on the Enoden train, past the oceanside populated with fishers, and to the classic shrine-like home of her grandmother, or obachama. 

Loosely based on an event in Sonoko’s childhood, Mai wishes to share the gift of a sweet muskmelon with her grandmother but loses it on the train along the way. Obachama shares the Japanese folktale of The Stone Buddhas as an example of the power of good intentions to cheer Mai up. 

After the story, Mai hears from the train station master that the melon has been found, and she and her obachama are able to enjoy the sweet muskmelon together.  

This sweet story explores the cherished relationship between a young girl and her grandmother–two great friends despite the age gap–while the expressive art takes the reader through the Japanese countryside, past the sea, bamboo forests, and temples, drawn from the author’s own childhood memories.
SONOKO SAKAI was born in New York and raised by Japanese parents. She lived in many places as a child, including San Francisco, Kamakura, Mexico City, and Tokyo. She is the author of Rice Craft (Chronicle, 2016) and Japanese Home Cooking (Shambhala, 2019). She has worked as a recipe developer, producer, creative director, cooking teacher, and lecturer. She is also a grain activist. Sonoko currently lives in Los Angeles and Tehachapi, California, with her sculptor husband, Katsuhisa Sakai.

KEIKO BRODEUR began making illustrated paper goods under the name Small Adventure in 2009 in order to explore being a self-taught illustrator after having graduated with a graphic design degree and working in a few different fields. She soon fell in love with creating illustrations for greeting cards and other products for her own small business. After several years of printing and shipping all her orders, both retail and wholesale, from home, she finally found a new home for her business in 2015 and moved into a lovely studio space in Los Angeles where all product is packed and shipped with the help of friends.
Product Details ISBN: 9781645471240
ISBN-10: 1645471241
Publisher: Bala Kids
Publication Date: October 24th, 2023
Pages: 32
Language: English