The Gifts That Grow, based on a true story, intertwines cooking and family history as Amrita learns more about a Jamun tree which was planted in the garden of her old house. It’s a fascinatingly diverse story which celebrates a family tradition that has been passed down through generations.
The Story: Amrita, her sister, Kika, and their friend Finn are creating a recipe at Amrita’s house when he notices a picture of a Jamun tree on her wall. Finn lives in Amrita’s old house and recognises the tree from his garden. When they take Finn home they go to look at the tree and mum and Amrita reminisce and tell the tree’s story.
Amrita’s gran planted the tree when Amrita was born but its story goes back several generations and gives the girls a fascinating insight into their family history. Finn and his fathers recognise the importance of the tree to the family which leads them to give Amrita a special gift.
Family love oozes out of the story with its diverse cast of characters. Amrita’s grandma, Nani, brought a Jamun tree seed over from India and planted it when Amrita was tiny. She never got to taste the fruit but, thanks to Finn’s generosity, Amrita and Kika are able to enjoy it. And they know just what to do with the last seed…
We love Michaela Dias-Hayes’ vibrant illustrations, especially those detailing the story of the tree. She captures a wonderful range of emotions in the characters’ expressions as they tell Nani’s story and celebrate the important role she has played in their lives.
The Jamun tree shows that a gift of love can be passed down through generations and also highlights how we can take care of the natural world for our children and grandchildren to enjoy.
At the beginning of the story Mum is making her own special recipe for garam masala. At the end of the book author Monika shares her recipe for masala scrambled eggs and explains how cooking, eating and sharing recipes are a way of expressing love in her home.
Age Range: 7 +
Author: Monika Singh Gangotra / Illustrator: Michaela Dias-Hayes
Thank you to Owlet Press for sending a review copy of The Gifts That Grow.
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