Grandfather’s Journey (Hardcover) by Allen Say. Houghton Mifflin, 1993. ISBN: 0395570352. pp: 32.
Ages: 5-9, gr: k-4



Paintings portray "snapshots" of events in Grandfather’s life as he left his home as a young man, explored America, and returned to Japan where he lived for the rest of his life. Grandfather told his grandson stories of how much he loved California, but the war kept him from visiting. The grandson followed his grandfather’s example by coming to America as a young man. Although the grandson lives in California, he visits Japan often. He now feels that he understands his grandfather’s ambivalence as he himself finds that "the moment I am in one country, I am homesick for the other."


  1. Examine the pictures through the book looking for how the grandfather is shown as getting older.

  2. The city where the grandson was born is Yokohama. Look at maps of Japan to determine where Grandfather might have lived that was near the big city.

  3. Write a diary for a part of Grandfather’s journey.

  4. Find out where your grandparents were born.

  5. Do one or more of the vocabulary activities created by Cindy Campbell.

  6. Play a hangman game with words from the story. Make your own to play with a partner or use one created my Mrs. Fuller.

  7. Print out the Grandfather’s Journey Word Search and complete. Teacher note: the solution is not available.

  8. Talk about what you like about reviews done by students.
  9. Find out more about warblers and silvereyes.

  10. After Grandfather returns to the village, he never kept another songbird. Why?

  11. Where do you think the storyteller will live when he is a grandfather? Explain.

  12. Read about the Japanese in California in WWII. How would Grandfather’s life have been different if he had been living in California when the war began? Note for Teachers: Check resources for Journey to Topaz and Journey Home.

  13. How do Allen Say’s paintings resemble photography? How are they different?

About the Author


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More for the teacher

Links to other online guides for Grandfather’s Journey.


Grandfather’s Journey online quiz, 20 multiple choice questions

Grandfather’s Journey. Accelerated Reader: Quiz #7570 EN; Book Level 3.6; Points= 0.5
Book Adventure (Sylvan): Quiz Level 2.4
Reading Counts: Reading Level 4.2; Points= 1.0
Lexile Level 650
Guided Reading Level O
word count= 569