Rise and Shine MarikoRise and Shine, Mariko-Chan!
Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, Illustrated by Yoshiharu Tsuchida

What is morning like at your house?

For little Mariko and her Japanese/Japanese-American family it’s a busy and happy time.  She needs to get up, get washed and then there’s breakfast with her mom and dad, her two older sisters; Yuko and Yumi, and her “Oba-san” (grandmother).

This short book with bright and inviting illustrations is a wonderful multicultural read.  It shares an experience common to all children – getting ready for the day – while allowing young readers to discover unique aspects of Japanese culture such as special names used to show affection or respect and different foods that might be part of a Japanese meal.  Written by Chiyoko Tomioka, this book was originally published in Japan as: “Chiko-chan, Itterasshai”, meaning  “See You Later, Chiko-chan!”

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Written by Yoshiko Uchida

Years ago I stumbled across several volumes of books for young readers by Japanese American writer, Yoshiko Uchida.  I fell in love with her ability to tell a compelling story from the eyes of a young person and this is one of my favorite volumes by her – the Rooster Who Understood Japanese.

It’s about a little girl named Miyo and her neighborhood.  Although a handsome rooster lives next door and is the pride and joy of her elderly neighbors, it becomes a problem for another resident who threatens to call the police because of it’s early morning crowing. Miyo is afraid the beloved pet will have nowhere to go and will become someone’s meal.  So she takes on the mission of finding a home for this special bird – a rooster that understands Japanese.

Uchida has a gift for weaving realistic details into her stories in regard to prejudice and the difficulties faced by Japanese Americans in the USA during the 1950s – 1970’s. Her young heroines succeed by using grace, cleverness, persistence and patience and have a way of making their world a better place, despite the obstacles they are forced to overcome.

And the rooster?  There’s happy ending there, too.  But you have to read the book to find out how it all turns out.

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Written by Valerie Petrillo

This book is a great way to learn about the culture and traditions of people who came to the US from China, Japan, Korea, the Philippines, India, Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia.  There is a series of 70 crafts exploring cooking, art, dance, folklore and holidays as well as language, history and outstanding historical figures.

Some of my favorites from this book are the Mehndi hand painting, the Japanese fish printing craft, ribbon dancing activities, origami, taiko drumming and even a snakes and ladders game from India and a “kick-the-can” game from the Philippines.  There are lots of wonderfully easy recipes for such goodies as rice balls, Banana Lassi (yogurt drink), Vietnamese beef noodle soup and Cambodian spring rolls plus lots of suggestions for sweets!  Lastly, there are also pages for learning basic phrases in several languages such as Mandarin and Hindi.

All in all, this book is a treasure of information as well as fun activities that can liven up the home or classroom at Chinese New Year or any time of year!

Highly recommended!

Hands-on activities, games, and crafts introduce children to the diversity of Asian American cultures and teach them about the people, experiences, and events that have shaped Asian American history. This book is broken down into sections covering American descendents from various Asian countries, including China, Japan, Korea, Philippines, India, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Topics include the history of immigration from Asian countries, important events in U.S. history, sidebars on famous Asian Americans, language lessons, and activities that highlight arts, games, food, clothing, unique celebrations, and folklore. Kids can paint a calligraphy banner, practice Tai Chi, fold an origami dog or cat, build a Japanese rock garden, construct a Korean kite, cook bibingka, and create a chalk rangoli. A time line, glossary, and recommendations for Web sites, books, movies, and museums round out this multicultural guide.
List Price: $16.95 USD
New From: $7.73 USD In Stock
Used from: $1.32 USD In Stock

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Written by Dawnine Spivak, Illlustrated By Demi

Many teachers recommend this book as a fun way to introduce children to haiku. Grass Sandals follows some of the life experiences of Basho, one of the most well-known haiku poets of Japan.  Basho lived in the 1600’s and loved nature and was even named after a banana tree.  When the poet decided to travel, his friends gave him some special gifts, including grass sandals and this book follows his quiet adventures accompanying them with poetry and wonderful Japanese style illustrations by artist, Demi.

What would a day with a monk or a poet in long ago Japan be like?  Pick up this book and you’ll see!

A simple retelling of the travels of 17th century Japanese poet, Basho, across his island homeland. The book includes examples of the haiku verses he composed.
List Price: $13.99 USD
New From: $7.99 USD In Stock
Used from: $3.86 USD In Stock

Categories : Japan, Poetry
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Anno’s USA

Created by Mitsumasa Anno
As a young boy from Tsuwano in western Japan, Mitsumasa Anno always dreamed of faraway places.  This picture book of Mitsumasa Anno’s beautiful sketches tell a wonderful story of a journey across the land sharing the diversity of American cultures as seen through the eyes of a talented visiting artist.
Suggested Reading Level : This is a picture book, but engaging for all ages

Anno's USA (Paperback)

By (author): Mitsumasa Anno

Come along for a wonder-filled exploration of fabulous cities, picturesque villages and uniquely various inhabitants. Anno's USA is a true journey of surprise and discovery! A visual masterpiece.A wonderfully playful evocation of our history and culture. -- The New York Times Then and now are illustrated in scenes that tease the memory and will involve grownups with children in the zesty adventures of identifying commemorated events and people. -- Publishers Weekly, boxed review The book is a joyous paean to the homely details and glorious landscapes of our country; as such it rejoices both the mind and the heart. -- The Horn Book Mitsumasa Anno lives in Japan.
List Price: $6.99 USD
New From: $29.95 USD In Stock
Used from: $0.25 USD In Stock

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Crow Boy

Written by Taro Yashima
A little boy appears at a school in Japan and just doesn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the kids.  A loving teacher helps the boy find a place and be recognized for who he is.   Complete book review here: (link to review in site)
Reading level: Ages 4-8

FOR USE IN SCHOOLS AND LIBRARIES ONLY. A shy Japanese boy, having difficulty adjusting to school, is misjudged by his classmates.
List Price: $39.95 USD
New From: 0 Out of Stock
Used from: $13.50 USD In Stock

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