Grandfather’s Journey (Kindergarten)

“Grandfather’s Journey”  by Allen Say


[Grandfather’s Journey is a story about the author’s family. CM_grandfathers_journeyHis grandfather came from Japan to California as a young man. He missed Japan so much that he moved his family back there when his daughter was a young woman. His grandfather then missed California and planned to go back but World War II made that impossible. The author was born in Japan, grew up there, then moved to California (after his grandfather passed away) and raised his family there. He, too, has come to understand that “…the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other.” Although the mobility of his family’s experience is not common among Japanese Americans, it poignantly tells of how immigrants never lose longing for the country they left.]


Discussion Questions

  1. How is grandfather feeling in this picture?
  2. What do you think he misses?
  3. What is he doing in this picture? What do you see that makes you think that?
  4. What places does he visit?
  5. What did his grandfather like about living in Japan?
  6. Why did the author want to come to America?
  7. How would grandfather describe this new place?


Activity #1: Creating a TimelineTraceGrandfathersjourney

Grandfather went to a great many places. For this activity print out the cards, make enough copies and cut out each picture. Every student will get one set of cards. In this simple exercise students will arrange the pictures in chronological order as they occur in the book. As a class them describe what it happening in each photo. For fun, they get to color them in.

Storytelling as “Extra Credit”:

Ask the students to take the cards home. Sit their parents or guardians down and ask them to retell as much of grandfathers story as they can. For every card they complete, parents can make a check mark on the back. Students bring the cards back to class the next day for review.

The museum begins all of our exhibit design and educational programming by listening to or gathering oral histories of everyday people. Being able to retell a story is part of the oral tradition in storytelling. Events may be described differently by each child, but the exercise allows them to remember the story, connect with characters and feel the moment when they get to share something with another person.