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Yoko Books by Rosemary Wells

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

Yoko

Yoko’s Paper Cranes

Yoko's Paper Cranes

Yoko’s Show and Tell

Yoko's Show-and-Tell

Yoko Writes Her Name

Yoko Writes Her Name

Yoko Learns to Read

Yoko Learns to Read

Yoko’s World of Kindness

Yoko's World of Kindness: Golden Rules for a Happy Classroom

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Open the Barn Door by Christopher Santoro

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!51YY2PP434L__BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA240_SH20_OU01_

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30-31 out of 100 How About You???

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.

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen X
  2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien   Tried and couldn’t finish.
  3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte X .
  4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee X
  6. The Bible X
  7. Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell
  9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women – Louisa M Alcott X
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare
  15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
  16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien Tried and couldn’t finish.
  17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
  18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  19. The Time Traveller’s Wife
  20. Middlemarch – George Eliot
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell X
  22. The Great Gatsby – F Scott Fitzgerald Tried and couldn’t finish.
  23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
  26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll  Tried and couldn’t finish.
  30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame X
  31. Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy X
  32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
  33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis X 
  34.  Emma – Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis X
  37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden X
  40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne X
  41. Animal Farm – George Orwell X
  42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
  45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery X
  47. Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding X
  50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi – Yann Martel X
  52. Dune – Frank Herbert 
  53.  Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen X
  55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens 
  58.  Brave New World – Aldous Huxley X
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  60. Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
  61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck X
  62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt 
  64.  The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold 
  65.  Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas 
  66.  On The Road – Jack Kerouac
  67.  Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  68.  Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding 
  69.  Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville 
  71.  Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens X 
  72.  Dracula – Bram Stoker 
  73.  The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett Tried and couldn’t finish.
  74.  Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson 
  75.  Ulysses – James Joyce 
  76.  The Inferno – Dante
  77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  78.  Germinal – Emile Zola
  79.  Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  80.  Possession – AS Byatt 
  81.  A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens X 
  82.  Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell 
  83.  The Color Purple – Alice Walker  Tried and couldn’t finish.
  84.  The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  85.  Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert 
  86.  A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  87.  Charlotte’s Web – EB White X
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch AlbomX
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
  92. The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-ExuperyX
  93.  The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down – Richard Adams X
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
  96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute X
  97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas X
  98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare X
  99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl X
  100.  Les Miserables – Victor Hugo X

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Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

“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?

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Toto-Chan, The Little Girl at the Window by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi

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! 

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Winnie the Pooh; The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

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!

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Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

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.

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