The Matchbox Diary

The Matchbox Diary

Book - 2013 | First edition.
Average Rating:
Rate this:
Newbery Medalist Paul Fleischman and Bagram Ibatoulline tell a breathtaking immigration tale with appeal across generations.

"Pick whatever you like most. Then I'll tell you its story."
When a little girl visits her great-grandfather at his curio-filled home, she chooses an unusual object to learn about: an old cigar box. What she finds inside surprises her: a collection of matchboxes making up her great-grandfather's diary, harboring objects she can hold in her hand, each one evoking a memory. Together they tell of his journey from Italy to a new country, before he could read and write -- the olive pit his mother gave him to suck on when there wasn't enough food; a bottle cap he saw on his way to the boat; a ticket still retaining the thrill of his first baseball game. With a narrative entirely in dialogue, Paul Fleischman makes immediate the two characters' foray into the past. With warmth and an uncanny eye for detail, Bagram Ibatoulline gives expressive life to their journey through time -- and toward each other.
Publisher: Somerville, Mass. : Candlewick Press, 2013.
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780763646011
Branch Call Number: JP Fleis
Characteristics: 1 volume (unpaged) : illustrations (some color) ; 28 cm
Additional Contributors: Ibatoulline, Bagram - Illustrator


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment

Oct 19, 2018

Magnificent illustration on the cover caught my eye, and the story inside did not disappoint. Beautifully-shown story of Italian family immigrating to America.

Feb 03, 2018

This is a truly beautiful book. Moving, inspiring story, and gorgeous illustrations. A diary can be more than words. My favourites were the empty box, and the sunflower seed husks. Children and adults will love this!

BCD2013 Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
Small mementoes capture entire stories in this remarkable journey of an immigrant grandfather’s life.

Sep 20, 2013

The story of a boy who resourcefully collects items and stores them in matchboxes as a makeshift diary since he doesn't know how to write is captivating. The illustrations are first-rate and complement the words in a magnificent way.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

DanglingConversations thinks this title is suitable for 19 years and under


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at VPL

To Top