Kimiko Kajikawa, Children's Book AuthorKimiko Kajikawa, Children's Book Author
Kimiko Kajikawa, Children's Book Author

Close to You — How Animals Bond

by Kimiko Kajikawa

Henry Holt and Company, New York, 2008
Ages 3-7
ISBN 0-8050-8123-2




Winner: 2009 Christopher Award, Books for Young People (Award given to media "that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.")
Winner: 2009 Gold Award, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio
Winner: Wilde Award, Best Nonfiction Picture Book, News & Observer
Kansas State Reading Circle, 2009 Recommended Title
Selection: Children's Book-of-the-Month Club, 2008


Parents and their young have special ways of bonding, especially in the animal kingdom.  A baby kangaroo nestles in its mother's pouch, while a mama alligator carries her babies gently in her mouth.  Polar bears cuddle, and penguin parents take turns warming their chicks in the arctic winter.  Just like people, animals kiss, rub noses, and snuggle.

Through endearing photographs and a lyrical text, Kimiko Kajikawa explores the parent-child bonds of animals large and small.  For children 3 - 7 years.


I had so much fun working on the book Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep that I really wanted to work on another nonfiction book about animals.  As a high school librarian, I get to order posters to decorate the library.  One day, I stumbled upon a beautiful poster with a photograph of a mother giraffe kissing its baby.  It was incredibly touching, and I immediately started working on my next topic, how animals bond.


"This tender title about the bonding between baby and adult animals gets some punch from additional facts appended at the end.  The body of the book has a brief rhyming text, notable for its precise and engaging verbs.  Large, heartwarming stock photos of animal families clearly illustrate each verse.  Sizable enough for group sharing and also a comforting lap read, this is a book that will encourage children's curiosity."

— School Library Journal

"As in Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep (1999), Kajikawa pairs beautiful, close-up color photos of animals in the wild with a very simple rhyming text. Children will want to act out the warm embrace of adult and child in each illustration, whether it's in the cover photo of polar bears cuddling in a snow den, manatees that "caress against wrinkly skin," or the picture of porcupines brushing together their prickly noses.  Adults wanting to provide little listeners with additional information will find it in the back, along with web site resources for each of the 12 animals included."

— Booklist

"Tender, intriguing and funny illustrations with simple one-liners show the sweet habits of animal babies and their parents."

— News & Observer


Author Wins International Award

Oscar the Grouch and Master puppeteer, Caroll Spinney, come out of the trash can to congratulate Kimiko Kajikawa for winning a 2009 Christopher Award.

Children's book author, Kimiko Kajikawa, won a 2009 Christopher Award at the 60th Annual Christopher Awards Ceremony held at the McGraw-Hill Building in New York City. The awards, first presented in 1949, are given annually to film, television, and books that "affirm the highest values of the human spirit." Kimiko Kajikawa, a New Hope, PA resident, won an award for her book, Close to You: How Animals Bond (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers).

The awards honored six feature films, seven television programs, six books for adults and five books for children that debuted in the 2008 calendar year. All were judged to exhibit exceptional artistic and technical proficiency, a significant degree of public visibility and, most importantly, they clearly affirm the highest values of the human spirit.

Along with Kajikawa, other 2009 Christopher Award winners included Slumdog Millionaire, Wall*E, Sesame Street, John Adams Miniseries, Steve Lopez (The Soloist), and Walter Dean Myers (Sunrise Over Fallujah).

"This year's honorees have enriched the lives of generations of young people, in New York, throughout the nation, and beyond," said Judith Trojan, Christopher Awards program manager. "The Christophers recognize media that remind audiences and readers of all ages and faiths of their power to make a difference in their communities and the world-at-large." The entrants were reviewed by panels of media professionals; members of The Christophers' staff with expertise in film, TV and publishing; and by children's reading specialists.

Christopher Life Achievement Award-winner, author/historian David McCullough, was especially proud of his Award, which he now displays in his library. "It gives me the chance to talk about the bedrock values The Christophers stand for and why having my work so honored means worlds to me." Christopher Award-winner Ken Burns (director/producer) agrees. "In an awards environment that is all ego, it is refreshing to have The Christopher Awards around to remind us all of the real purpose of our work."



Return to Kimiko's Books