11/7 – 11/13 Children’s Book of the Week: Yoshiko and the Foreigner

Yoshiko and the Foreigner
by Mimi Otey-Little
Though the main characters of this story are young adults, the story is very beautiful, and the heroism and fortitude in it make it something of a fairytale!

Yoshiko, a proper young Japanese woman, has been raised to never speak to foreigners – especially soldiers. But when a young American officer tries to communicate with a train conductor and can only say phrases like “You see, I’m a boiled cabbage!”, Yoshiko helps the young man in spite of herself in perfect English, and so their courtship begins. Yoshiko is worried what her family will think of the American, who has been dutifully studying Japanese ever since he met Yoshiko and wants Yoshiko’s family’s approval to marry her. Through the many gifts and acts of kindness the American shows Yoshiko’s family, he demonstrates his profound respect for their traditions and his love for Yoshiko.

The end page of the book is a black and white photograph of the couple’s actual wedding. A truly sweet, touching story about love, perseverance, and embracing other cultures and ideas. Best for kids ages 5 and up.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the author of the children’s picture book Too Many Visitors for One Little House and the founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts.  Too Many Visitors is now available  as an ibook for ipad and iphones with a fun read-aloud musical narration.  http://bit.ly/ibookVisitors ~

7/24 – 7/31 Children’s Book of the Week: The Giving Tree

The Giving Tree
by Shel Silverstein
A little boy makes a playground of a great, leafy apple tree, and the tree loves him  for it. The little boy is happy, and so the tree is happy. Soon the little boy grows, and grows away from his tree. At each new stage of his life the boy comes back, and the tree, always delighted to see him again, invites him to play around her like he used to and be happy. But each time, the once little boy has a different idea of what will make him happy, and asks the tree first for her apples, then her branches, and finally her trunk. The tree gives these things to the boy, happy to see him happy. As an old man, the boy comes back – by now the tree is just a stump, with nothing left to give. The boy is happy simply to have a place to sit and rest, and so boy and tree reclaim (though in a different way) the joy they shared when they were younger.

The ending makes for an interesting, open interpretation, and  still very beautiful. Children of all ages will enjoy this classic story.

~ Susan Chodakiewitz is the Founder of Booksicals, Encouraging Reading Through the Arts and the author of the book
Too Many Visitors for One Little House ~