picture Books About Japan
Sora and the Cloud
Written and illustrated by Felicia Hoshino
A noted children's artist, Hoshino authors her first picture book, inspired by her own experiences as a mother to her son Sora: a growing boy enjoys the ultimate daydream - to soar like a cloud! Once a baby, now Sora is a boy who explores the world around him. First crawling and then walking, Sora soon learns to how to climb a tree. Up there a friendly cloud awaits! Hopping aboard, Sora embarks on a fantastic trip. Curious birds, squealing kites and whispering fireworks whirl by. This wonderful flight of fancy is created in Hoshino's hallmark style: a unique combination of mixed media creates ethereal environments with subtle shading, and contemplative characters who invoke the innocence of youth. Also included is a bilingual Japanese translation which highlights how Hoshino shares her heritage with her children and readers.
The Discovery of Ramen
Dao is an adorable red panda who can travel back in time and place! Two curious kids Ethan and Emma befriend him and together they discover how some very cool things came from Asia. In their first adventure, Ethan and Emma smell a tasty bowl of ramen noodles. Luckily Dao is the perfect guide to see how ramen was created! The trio zip to 1800s Japan, then skip across the decades to visit ramen factories, museums, and restaurants. Hungry for knowledge, they travel across the world and even zoom to outer space! Ramen has never been more popular. Dynamic art brings food alive and off the page to the point where your mouth will water. After savoring this tasty tale, get ready to discover more marvelous inventions from The Asian Hall of Fame!
Take Me Out to the Yakyu
Written and illustrated by Aaron Meshon
You may know that baseball is the Great American Pastime, but did you know that it is also a beloved sport in Japan? Come along with one little boy and his grandfathers, one in America and one in Japan, as he learns about baseball and its rich, varying cultural traditions. This debut picture book from Aaron Meshon is a home run—don’t be surprised if the vivid illustrations and energetic text leave you shouting, “LET’S PLAY YAKYU!”
Pancakes to Parathas
Breakfast varies from country to country, but it's how all children begin their day. Explore the meals of twelve countries in this playful approach to the world! From Australia to India to the USA, come travel around the world at dawn. Children everywhere are waking up to breakfast. In Japan, students eat soured soybeans called natto. In Brazil, even kids drink coffee--with lots of milk! With rhythm and rhymes and bold, graphic art, Pancakes to Parathas invites young readers to explore the world through the most important meal of the day.
The Out-Foxed Fox
Hundreds of years ago in the mountains of Japan, there lived a hunter who trapped many foxes. People warned him that foxes were cunning creatures that possessed great magic, but he ignored them. One day, the bossy old fox leader declared they must stop the hunter and that he had the perfect plan. But a young fox with crooked whiskers knew that a simple plan is often best. To prove it, he showed both the hunter and the leader just how cunning a fox can be! Whimsical illustrations rendered in pencil, water-color, oil paint, and colored pencil by Ariel Ya-Wen Pang add to the charm of this Japanese tale based on a traditional kyogen. An author’s note is included.
The Furry-Legged Teapot
Yoshi the tanuki—a Japanese raccoon-dog—learns how to magically transform himself into anything, even a teapot. But what happens when he can’t change back? This is the tale of the teapot-tanuki’s adventures, from the day he leaves his family to the day he meets the Emperor himself. What will it take for this teapot to become a tanuki again? Only the Emperor’s grandson knows the answer. Asian-influenced illustrations using vibrant acrylic paints bring the mythical tanuki to life. An author’s note is included.
Basho and the Fox
There are important lessons to be learned, even by proud poets, in this innovative tale of a fox who thinks he’s a great poet and a great poet who thinks he can outdo a fox! It is the 1600s in Japan. Basho is writing the lovely haiku for which he is famous to this day. Given three chances by the fox, he must write a poem that "needn’t be great—only good." Confident of his skill, he’s sure he can win the challenge and its prize, the sweet cherries from the tree near his hut. But not all is what it seems as a newly humble Basho discovers! Delicate watercolors convey a truly Eastern sensibility that takes young readers back in time to feudal Japan while their playful perspectives reinforce the mischievous tone of the text.