Memo and the Unexpected Gift cover


By: Funda Özlem Şeran and Ezgi Keleş

Illustrated by: Ezgi Keleş

Translated by: Amy Marie Spangler

Published: September 19, 2023

Publisher: Amazon Crossing Kids


This children’s tale written by a Turkish author and translated into English explores a loving relationship between a boy and his grandma as well as the loneliness felt when a child is without a playmate.

Memo and his grandma are a great team. Since Memo’s grandma doesn’t see well, he helps her with the cooking and cleaning. Sometimes they play games together, but Grandma tires easily. Memo feels lonely and wishes he had someone to play with. One night, during the rain, Memo hears a noise outside. It’s a kitten. Memo has found a new best friend.

Memo and the Unexpected Gift page

Memo notices that the kitten keeps growing and growing until the kitten is no longer a kitten but a huge Lion! What happens next is imaginative and eventful. Memo does what every loyal friend would do, help his new friend return home.

This fantastical tale explores the devotion a young boy has for his grandma as well as the desire for a lifelong friend. Even though the story is silly it still reminds all of us that we would do anything to help a friend. The adorable illustrations show Memo’s sadness turning into happiness then grief and finally, unexpected joy at a gift from a true friend.

Funda Özlem Şeran is a Turkish author. Born in Istanbul in 1984, Funda received both her BA and MA degrees in political science and international relations from Marmara University. Her published works include horror anthologies, adult urban-fantasy novels, sci-fi novellas, and various children’s books. Her short stories have won several national awards, and she is published in Italian and Dutch anthologies.

Ezgi Keleş is a Turkish author and illustrator. She was born in Istanbul in 1984. Ezgi graduated from the Department of Graphic Design at Mimar Sinan Fine Arts University and has worked as an art director at several advertising agencies. Now she writes and illustrates children’s books and magazines. She is a mom to one child and one cat. See more of her art on Instagram @ezgikeles.

Amy Marie Spangler is cofounder of the AnatoliaLit Agency in Turkey and the commercial and literary translator of numerous books and short stories. From 2007 until 2015, she headed the fiction-translation group of the Cunda International Workshop for Translators of Turkish Literature, and she has taught in the translation-studies departments at Boğaziçi University and Istanbul Okan University.

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Thanks to the publisher for sending a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. This review is my honest opinion. If you choose to make a purchase through the above links, I may receive a small commission without you having to pay a cent more for your purchase.
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