The Wakame Gatherers

By Holly Thompson
Illustrated by Kazumi Wilds

Hardcover: out of stock

Paperback: $11.95


Nanami has two grandmothers: Baachan, who lives with Nanami’s family in Japan, and Gram, who lives in Maine. When Gram visits Japan, Baachan takes her and Nanami on a trip to the seaside to gather wakame, a long, curvy seaweed that grows near the shore.

While the three assemble their equipment and walk to the beach, Baachan explains how wakame and other seaweeds are used in Japan. Gram shares stories about how seaweeds are used in Maine, and Nanami translates for them both.

By the end of the day, Nanami’s two grandmothers discover that they have much in common despite being from countries that fought in World War II, which they both remember. Looking out across the beach at surfers, dog walkers, and seaweed gatherers, they share an appreciation of this precious peace.

Holly Thompson’s beautiful prose captures the exuberance of a young girl who easily traverses two cultures and languages. It also illuminates the love and understanding that grows between two older women who are very different, yet share an unbreakable bond. Kazumi Wilds’s vivid paintings make the Japanese landscape and the rocky shores of Maine come alive, reminding us all that we share this earth and the peace that we create.

About the Creators

Holly Thompson - Author

Holly Thompson has lived for more than twenty years in Kamakura, Japan, where she likes to gather wakame and observe the harvesting of cultivated wakame. Raised in New England, she studied biology at Mount Holyoke College and fiction writing at New York University. She currently teaches creative writing at Yokohama City University in Yokohama, Japan. She writes fiction and poetry for children, teens, and adults, and translates Japanese children’s books into English. You can find her online at

Kazumi Wilds

Kazumi Wilds was born in Tokyo, Japan, and is a picture book illustrator and a creator of artist’s books. She studied traditional Japanese painting at Joshibi University of Art and Design in Tokyo and graduated from the Graduate College of the University of Iowa Center for the Book, where she earned her MFA in Book Arts. Over the past twenty years, she has published picture books in Japan, the US, and Singapore. Her artist’s books are included in collections at eleven universities and an art museum in the US. Kazumi is currently teaching art courses at Temple University Japan Campus in Tokyo.