Ahhhh, these books are too wonderful. At least half of them make me cry!
Rosemary Wells has captured many of the simple things that make moving to a new country a challenge for kids in school. In particular, kids moving from Japan to the USA.
Now, Jun is about as American as they come – though she still insists that babies “hatch!” Her vocabulary is growing by leaps and bounds. But our family IS bi-lingual. Bi-cultural. We eat food from the US as well as Japan. We like to take rice-balls on picnics. We use chopsticks. Some of us read and write Japanese better than English.
Anyway, these are great books! Read and learn and maybe cry!
Yoko’s Paper Cranes
Yoko’s Show and Tell
Yoko Writes Her Name
Yoko Learns to Read
Yoko’s World of Kindness
I am a sucker for books whose illustrations I love. This is a chunky flap book. Not a lot of dialogue. Just a bunch of barnyard animals telling you what they “say.” And the most delightful pictures! Ahhh, this is the kind of art that I love! (And a “flap book”, for anyone who doesn’t know, has little flaps kids get to open up to reveal a SECRET something. All the rage with toddlers!) I love this book!
The BBC believes most people will have only read 6 books from this list. Copy the list into your own note. Look at the list and put an ‘x’ after those you have read. Delete ‘x’ from any you have not read. Post the number you have read in the note title.
- Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen X
- The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien Tried and couldn’t finish.
- Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X .
- Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
- To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X
- The Bible X
- Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
- Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
- His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
- Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
- Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X
- Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
- Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
- Complete Works of Shakespeare
- Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
- The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien Tried and couldn’t finish.
- Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
- Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
- The Time Traveller’s Wife
- Middlemarch – George Eliot
- Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell X
- The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald Tried and couldn’t finish.
- Bleak House – Charles Dickens
- War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
- The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
- Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
- Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
- Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
- Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll Tried and couldn’t finish.
- The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame X
- Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy X
- David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
- Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis X
- Emma – Jane Austen
- Persuasion – Jane Austen
- The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
- The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
- Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
- Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden X
- Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
- Animal Farm – George Orwell X
- The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
- One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
- The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
- Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery X
- Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
- The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
- Lord of the Flies – William Golding X
- Atonement – Ian McEwan
- Life of Pi – Yann Martel X
- Dune – Frank Herbert
- Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
- Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen X
- A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
- The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
- A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
- Brave New World – Aldous Huxley X
- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
- Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
- Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X
- Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
- The Secret History – Donna Tartt
- The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
- Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
- On The Road – Jack Kerouac
- Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
- Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
- Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
- Moby Dick – Herman Melville
- Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens X
- Dracula – Bram Stoker
- The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett Tried and couldn’t finish.
- Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
- Ulysses – James Joyce
- The Inferno – Dante
- Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
- Germinal – Emile Zola
- Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
- Possession – AS Byatt
- A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X
- Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
- The Color Purple – Alice Walker Tried and couldn’t finish.
- The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
- Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
- A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
- Charlotte’s Web – EB White X
- The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch AlbomX
- Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
- The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
- Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
- The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-ExuperyX
- The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
- Watership Down – Richard Adams X
- A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
- A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute X
- The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas X
- Hamlet – William Shakespeare X
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X
- Les Miserables – Victor Hugo X
“Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down.” For some reason, I just wanted to read Mary Poppins, so bought a copy at our expensive bookstore.
Now, I don’t know what I was looking for – some advice on child rearing or flying with umbrellas, but…as my student said, whom I presented with the first book in the series…Mary wasn’t all that nice to the kiddos. I simply CANNOT imagine her giving them a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down.
That being said, their adventures are quite amusing. But, even more than their adventures, I enjoy how the other “regulars” in the neighborhood end up on peppermint ponies, or flying balloons.
Believe it or not, Mary Poppins made me think a bit about being a Christian in Japan, or, the world. How will my actions or affiliations or beliefs rub off and affect those around me, without them even realizing it at the time?
I recommend Mary P, but, as my student also said, these aren’t really books for kids – are they?
A few years ago I took a Standardized Japanese Language test. Good thing that one of the categories is Listening! For the Grammar and Kanji (Chinese Character) sections, I did not resort to coloring in a pattern in the little circles, but I might just as well have.
So, though I passed the test, and now that I know it is really meaningless to pass it, I decided to continue studying kanji through reading interesting things.
This book was a truly wonderful story. I plowed through it in Japanese with my teacher’s help, and the depth of the nuances left a deep impression in my heart.
A little girl (mid or pre-WWII) was put into first grade. Into a standardized class. But she wasn’t a standard child. She loved nature, loved socializing, loved life outside of the classroom. Her teacher despaired of her and she was removed from the school. Her wise mother took her to another school, out in the country, where classes were held in old train cars.
This wonderful story about the true education of the core of a little child, is really a must read. Amazon has it in English!
Winnie the Pooh is a huge character over here in Japan. He is tenderly called “Pooh-san”. Jun has been given many Pooh-san dolls, Winnie the Pooh books in English and Japanese, and dolls of Pooh’s friends.
So, I decided to find out all I could about this honey eating yellow bear and his cohorts. Two books later, I am looking forward to getting the third and fourth, I realize these stories are not just for children.
Pooh and his friends make up a nice cross section of society. The braggart, the perpetually unhappy, the uncontrollable bouncer, the shy one, the know it all, etc. They are all nicely described and are all Pooh’s friends.
These stories are wonderful ways to teach children and adults about “life”, and how to see said “life” through other people’s eyes.
Now, when Jun and I play with Pooh-san and his friends, I try to tell her about their different personalities. I want her to understand and accept people who are like these characters.
I admit it. I am a Pooh-san Fan!
Well, this book nearly meets my criteria. I could do with a little more dialogue, as sleep deprivation makes it kind of hard to concentrate for extended pages of description.
However, the era is right up my alley. Summer, 1928. The boy is 12 years old. The town has front porches, lawns, huge trees, ice-cream trucks.
This is totally a setting from my childhood – NOT! So why is it so nostalgic? Beats me. But it had me daydreaming about my own summers and the summer memories my baby girl will have. So far her experiences are so so different from mine, that I struggle to remember that things that are so strange to me, will be her “normal”. I guess it is the contents of life rather than the outer form that are most important.
So, I am savoring each page and am thankful for the short chapters so I can put it down to make supper and rock that sweet baby to sleep.