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Groundwood Books

When I Found Grandma

Written by Saumiya Balasubramaniam • Illustrated by Qin Leng

For kids 4 - 7 years old | Published March 01, 2019 | ISBN 9781773060187
JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Multigenerational

Cover of When I Found Grandma

Regular price $17.95 CAD

32 pages | 10.5 in × 7.25 in
Print Format

Also Available as an Ebook

About this book

When I Found Grandma

Saumiya Balasubramaniam • Qin Leng

Maya longs to see her grandmother, but when Grandma arrives from far away for a visit, she is not quite what Maya expected.

When Maya’s grandma makes a surprise visit from thousands of miles away, Maya is delighted. But her excitement doesn’t last long. When Grandma picks her up from school, she wears fancy clothes and talks too loudly. Grandma’s morning prayer bells wake Maya up, and she cooks with ingredients Maya doesn’t usually eat. Plus, Maya thinks cupcakes taste better than Grandma’s homemade sweets.

Maya and Grandma try to compromise, and on a special trip to the island Grandma even wears an “all-American” baseball cap. But when Maya rushes off to find the carousel, she loses sight of her mother, father and grandmother. She is alone in a sea of people … until she spots something bobbing above the crowd, and right away she knows how to find her way.

Saumiya Balasubramaniam’s story is an insightful and endearing portrayal of a grandparent-grandchild relationship that is evolving and deeply loving, as Maya and Grandma navigate cross-cultural contexts and generational differences. Qin Leng’s sweet, evocative illustrations complement the story and illuminate Grandma and Maya’s growing closeness.

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

Identify who is telling the story at various points in a text.

Compare and contrast the adventures and experiences of characters in stories.

Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.

Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

Acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading dialogue aloud.

About the Creators

Saumiya Balasubramaniam

Saumiya Balasubramaniam’s debut picture book, When I Found Grandma, illustrated by Qin Leng, was featured in the Globe and Mail (“Seven books to help kids make sense of the world”) and by the CBC (“Kids books to look for in 2019”). It was described by Publishers Weekly as a “subtle, heartfelt story.” Saumiya lives in Toronto.

Qin Leng

Qin Leng lives and works as a designer and illustrator in Toronto. She graduated from the Mel Hoppenheim School of Cinema and has received many awards for her animated short films and artwork. Her picture books include Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin by Chieri Uegaki (APALA Award, Governor General’s Literary Award finalist); Away by Emil Sher and A Family Is a Family Is a Family by Sara O’Leary (both USBBY Outstanding International Books); When I Found Grandma by Saumiya Balasubramaniam (Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award finalist) and I Am Small, which Qin has written and illustrated. Visit

Awards and Praise

Praise for Saumiya Balasubramaniam, Qin Leng and When I Found Grandma:

“This gently moving story explores cross-cultural connections in a deeply meaningful way and Leng’s ink and watercolour illustrations wonderfully extend the story.” — Globe and Mail

“Discovering and embracing differences leads to stronger bonds between family members, Balasubramaniam asserts in this subtle, heartfelt story.” — Publishers Weekly

“Balasubramaniam’s honest first-person text and Leng’s soft line-and-color illustrations — which deftly and sympathetically convey the intensity of Maya’s feelings — explore familial love and the intricacies of cross-cultural and intergenerational relationships between very young children and their grandparents.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[A] heartwarming tale about navigating differences that are both cultural and generational.” — CBC Books

Praise for Jessica Scott Kerrin, Qin Leng and A Better Tree Fort:

“Artist Qin Leng embellishes Kerrin’s thoughtful narrative with whimsical ink, watercolor and pencil crayon illustrations that emphasize and celebrate the parent/child partnership as collaborators and adventurers — especially their supportive companionship and wordless understanding.” — Shelf Awareness, starred review

Praise for Emil Sher, Qin Leng and Away:

“With an entertainingly offbeat storytelling format and fantastic artwork full of eye-catching details … this endearing picture book with an empowering message of bravery will surely resonate with little ones nervous about their own burgeoning independence.” — Booklist, starred review

“Leng’s breathy illustrations exude the easy energy of the characters while bringing their deceptively simple notes to full emotional life … Untrammeled and honest.” — Kirkus, starred review

When I Found Grandma When I Found Grandma When I Found Grandma