Grandfather's Journey

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Grandfather's Journey
CM grandfathers journey.jpg
Author Allen Say
Illustrator Allen Say
Country United States
Genre Children's picture book
Publisher Houghton Mifflin
Publication date
Pages 32
ISBN 978-0-395-57035-7
OCLC 27810899
[E] 20
LC Class PZ7.S2744 Gr 1993

Grandfather's Journey is a book by Allen Say. Released by Houghton Mifflin, it was the recipient of the Caldecott Medal for illustration in 1994.[1] The story is based on Say's grandfather's voyage from Japan to the United States and back again.


A young man from Japan, during the Meiji era, crosses the Pacific Ocean and explores the United States. He finds that of all the places he has seen, he likes coastal California best because of the beautiful Sierra Mountains. Eventually, he returns home to Japan and marries his childhood sweetheart.

The young man takes his new bride across the sea and they settle in California, where they have a daughter. As he watches his daughter grow up, the man is filled with nostalgia for his own childhood. He eventually decides to take his family back to Japan when his daughter is nearly grown up.

The man is happy to see his old friends again, but moves from the village where he grew up to a city nearby in order to satisfy his daughter, who has spent her entire life living in a city. She eventually marries and has a son, who is the narrator of the story. The man, now the titular grandfather of the story, finds that once again he misses California.

He plans a trip to see his adopted country again with his grandson, but never gets a chance to see California again as a result of World War II. His grandson eventually grows up and follows the same journey as his grandfather, understanding his grandfather's feelings towards two places he called home.


  1. ^ American Library Association: Caldecott Medal Winners, 1938 - Present. URL accessed 27 May 2009.
Preceded by
Mirette on the High Wire
Caldecott Medal recipient
Succeeded by
Smoky Night