Joann Sgroi
Lily Yumi is miserable. Nothing in the fourth grade at P.S. #145 is going
exactly the way she wanted it to. The girls don’t like her. The boys laugh at
her. She just doesn’t fit in. No one, not even her own family, understands
what it is like to be different.
To make matters worse, her maternal grandmother, Kiyoko Aomori, is
coming to New York City to visit for almost four whole months! Mama is
eager for this visit since she hasn’t seen her mother in almost seven years.
Papa is only concerned with teaching six-year old Maggie the proper way to
greet Gaisobo. Why doesn’t anyone see that Lily is desperately unhappy?
Following Grandmother’s arrival, Lily makes one excuse after the other to
avoid her family, especially her Gaisobo. But, Gaisobo Aomori slowly begins
to unfold the Japanese culture before her granddaughter and, through
subtle encouragement, gives Lily the chance to accept who she is. Through
the telling of ancient Japanese folklore and through the use of traditional
Japanese rituals and traditions, Lily comes to understand and embrace her
Japanese heritage.