The Sour Cherry Tree

Owlkids. Oct. 2021. 32p. Tr $18.95. ISBN 9781771474146.
PreS-Gr 1–This book on grief and the passing of a grandparent perfectly encapsulates a child’s perspective. The death of Baba Bozorg happened the day before, and now a small girl and her mother go to his house to “take care of a few things.” The bed where the child often found him napping is empty, but rumpled, as if he has just left it for a moment. His tea cup is by the samovar, where he enjoyed Ceylon with a splash of rose water and a fig cookie. He always offered a cookie to the narrator; she never liked figs, but took the offering anyway. He didn’t speak much English; she spoke little Farsi. But they communicated in other ways, sharing a wink or a smile. She slips into his closet to remember. From there, she spies the sour cherry tree in his front yard, which he planted when the girl’s mother was her own age. “Whenever we left Baba Bozorg’s house, he would wave at us until I couldn’t see him anymore.” That’s the last line of the book, as wistful as the casual mention that Baba Bozorg was a published poet in Iran, with an illustration of him in a book of his writings. Kazemi’s soft pictures have a diffused quality; this is the past, this is the present, it doesn’t matter.
VERDICT This book gives voice to the hidden aspects of grief, the small token, the remembered word or gesture that defines memories. It’s an essential guide to mourning, in its earliest stages, for the young.

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing