Yoko’s Paper Cranes

Yoko’s Paper Cranes by Rosemary Wells

yokos paper cranes coverWhen Yoko was very young, she lived in Japan.  Her grandmother, Obaasan, showed her cranes in the pond at the end of her garden, and explained how the cranes left during the winter, but returned each year.  Yoko’s grandfather, Ojiisan, could fold paper into cranes – and frogs, and many other animals.  Ojiisan taught Yoko how to fold paper cranes.

When Yoko was a little older, she left Japan with her parents, and moved to America.  The family stayed in touch and sent letters across the ocean to each other every week.

Yoko wanted to give Obaasan a birthday gift, but didn’t have any money for a present.  Yoko remembered that Obaasan’s garden would be cold and snowy, and that Obaasan would be waiting for the cranes to return.  Yoko’s mother gave her some nice paper, and Yoko folded three cranes just as Ojiisan had taught her.  Yoko mailed the cranes to Obaasan in Japan.  Obaasan and Ojiisan hung Yoko’s cranes in the kitchen window.  Yoko had made the perfect gift.

This is a sweet story of families, and of connecting even across an ocean.

origami cat and dog groupArt activity:  try folding a few origami animals with your children.  These aren’t as tricky as paper cranes.

Origami Cat

Origami Dog


origami dog 8

Origami Dog

origami cat 9

Origami Cat



  1. Marie-Claude Leroux on June 5, 2013 at 7:00 am

    Sounds like a sweet book to introduce younger kids to paper cranes (I read the Sadako story to my older daughters), – I hadn’t heard of it, and look forward to reading it with my nephew. Thanks! (dropped by from the kid lit blog hop)

    • bookwormbear on June 5, 2013 at 12:50 pm

      Thanks for stopping by from the Kid Lit Blog Hop! I hope your nephew enjoys the story.

  2. Alicia on June 5, 2013 at 10:37 am

    I will have to give this a try. I have been trying to think of ways to introduce my little one to origami and this looks like the perfect book.

    • bookwormbear on June 5, 2013 at 12:52 pm

      Thanks for stopping by Bookworm Bear! This is a fun book to share with little ones. And, the cat and dog (art activity) are much easier to fold than the cranes – a good way to try origami.

  3. Julie Grasso on June 5, 2013 at 6:04 pm

    This sounds so sweet. I love Origami. Thanks so much for linking it in to the Kid Lit Blog Hop.

    • bookwormbear on June 5, 2013 at 6:17 pm

      Thanks for stopping by from – and for hosting! – the Kid Lit Blog Hop!
      Yoko and Rosemary Wells’ books were big in my house when my children were younger. Somehow, that fold that makes the paper crane’s head and neck is just a little tricky. The cat and dog are preschooler and up tested. Thanks again for hosting the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  4. Renee @ Mother Daughter Book Reviews on June 9, 2013 at 12:33 am

    I just love Rosemary Wells and all of the characters that she’s created. There is such a diversity of cultures, genders, personalities. Her books are so fabulous. I have some origami paper that I used to use to make all kinds of things with before I had kids. I should pull that out and do some with the kids. I’m sure they would love it! Thanks for linking into the Kid Lit Blog Hop! 🙂

  5. bookwormbear on June 10, 2013 at 10:43 am

    Thanks for stopping by from – and hosting – the Kid Lit Blog Hop! Rosemary Wells is great – my daughter loved her books. I hope you have fun with the origami. 🙂

  6. Monika on June 13, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    I’m so glad you posted this! We love Rosemary Wells, but I hadn’t heard of this title. Fun activity, too. Thanks!

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