Review of All from a Walnut

All from a Walnut All from a Walnut
by Ammi-Joan Paquette; illus. by Felicita Sala
Primary    Abrams    40 pp.    g
3/22    978-1-4197-5002-1    $18.99

Emilia’s beloved grandfather gives her a walnut and uses it to tell his immigration story. As a child, he emigrated with his family from Italy. They carried very few belongings, but the boy managed to take a walnut from the tree outside his window, which he planted in a pot upon arrival in his new country. He carried the growing tree with him, transplanting it as needed throughout the years, until, with his new wife, planting it in the backyard of their home. Now, many years later, Emilia, with her grandfather’s help, plants and cares for her own walnut sapling, only putting it in the ground after her grandfather’s death. The relatively simple text includes many layers—in addition to being an immigration story, it is a family history tale and a story about the passing of a beloved grandparent and the carrying on of that person’s legacy. Paquette’s emotive writing is strong and clear: “Emilia held her grandfather close for as long as she could. And then she said goodbye.” Sala’s paintings, in shades of green, gold, and sepia, are equally effective. In them, Emilia and her grandfather are visually connected, often overlapping or framed together by curving lines, bringing intimacy to the tale.

From the March/April 2022 issue of The Horn Book Magazine.

Maeve Visser Knoth

Maeve Visser Knoth is a librarian at Phillips Brooks School, Menlo Park, ­California. She has chaired the Notable Children’s Books Committee and taught at Notre Dame de Namur University and Lesley University.

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