The second stop on our picture book world tour is Japan!
This country is almost 5,000 miles from my home in Washington state, so for now I’ll be visiting via books!
Seven-year-old Yumi gives readers an introduction to her daily life in Japan, with stunningly detailed illustrations that depict a typical Japanese home. Yumi also gives us a look at her school, her city, and how she and her family celebrate holidays. Engaging and informative, this book is a must-read for kids who are eager to learn about Japan.
When an American boy moves with his parents from California to Japan, he discovers a whole new way of life. It seems that everything – eating, sleeping, and even taking a bath – is different in Japan. The story does an excellent job of representing the cultural differences between America and Japan, while also highlighting the social parallels.
An American sailor courts a Japanese woman, but is afraid to invite her to dinner because he doesn’t know how to eat with chopsticks. Narrated by the couple’s child, this is an entertaining story about love overcoming cultural differences. This book is full of humor and charm, and the illustrations – by celebrated Japanese artist Allen Say – are lovely.
Divided up month by month, this book shares an entire year’s worth of fun in Tokyo, giving readers a glimpse at the people, food, holidays, and customs of Japan. Every page is packed with details that kids will love exploring.
An American girl living in Tokyo meets and befriends two Japanese children. Together, they explore the city and teach one another about their respective cultures. This book has simple, rhyming text for younger readers, and does a great job of demonstrating the many similarities and differences between Japanese and western cultures.
This Caldecott Medal-winning classic – a retelling of a traditional Japanese tale – is the story of little old woman who loved to laugh and to make rice dumplings. When she is captured by a group of wicked, rice-loving demons, the wise woman must outsmart then to get back home. This book is a departure from the rest of the list in that it does not depict life in modern Japan, but the enjoyable story and eye-catching illustrations make it a worthwhile read.
We’ll be continuing our trip around the world next week, so check back! And be sure to check out our first stop: Australia.