Yōkoso; Welcome to Japanese and Japanese-American Culture

Kids , Book List

Kenta and the Big Wave

Title: Kenta and the Big Wave
By: Ruth Ohi
Published: 2013

Ruth Ohi’s glowing art transports the reader to Japan amidst the background of an environmental catastrophe. Inspired by true stories of personal items being washed ashore thousands of miles away after the tsunami of 2011, Kenta and the Big Wave is about the strength of the human spirit and the power of Mother Nature.
Age Range: 4-8

Call Number: J Picture Ohi.R

Ojiichan's Gift

Title: Ojiichan's Gift
By: Chieri Uegaki
Published: 2019

A young girl finds a way to give the gift of a traditional Japanese garden back to her beloved grandfather and accept a difficult change. Beatifully written and illustrated. Age Range: 3 - 7 years

Call Number: JPicture Uegak.C

Tea with Milk

Title: Tea with Milk
By: Allen Say
Published: 1999

With elegant watercolors, Say has created a moving tribute to his parents and their path to discovering where home really is. The story of his mother and her journey as a young woman is heartfelt. Vividly portraying the graceful formality of Japan, this book effectively captures the struggle between two cultures as May, the young girl in the story, strives to live her own destiny. Age Range: 4-8

Call Number: J Picture Say.A
(Check out other books by Allen Say about the Japanese American experience. )

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen

Title: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen
By: Debbi Michiko Florence
Published: 2017

Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie--something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women...Age Range: 6 - 8 years

Call Number: JChapter Flore.D

Baseball Saved Us

Title: Baseball Saved Us
By: Ken Mochizuki
Published: 1993

Twenty-five years ago, Baseball Saved Us changed the picture-book landscape with its honest story of a Japanese American boy in an internment camp during World War II. "One day my dad looked out at the endless desert and decided then and there to build a baseball field." Age Range: 5 - 9 years

Call Number: JUV KIT J Mochi.K

Full Cicada Moon

Title: Full Cicada Moon
By: Marilyn Hinton
Published: 2015

Girl beats stereotypes in powerful free-verse novel. It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Yet, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no. Winner of the Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature for Children (2015) Age Range: 7 - 12

Call Number: : J Hilto.M


Title: Kira-Kira
By: Cynthia Kodahota
Published: 2004

kira-kira (kee ra kee ra): glittering; shining Glittering. That's how Katie Takeshima's sister, Lynn, makes everything seem. When Lynn becomes desperately ill, and the whole family begins to fall apart, it is up to Katie to find a way to remind them all that there is always something glittering -- kira-kira -- in the future. Winner of the Newbery Medal in 2005. (Kodahota won the National Book Award for Young People's Literature in 2013 for The Thing About Luck.) Age Range: 10 and up

Call Number: J Kodah.C

Soul Lanterns

Title: Soul Lanterns
By: Shaw Kuzki
Published: 2021

The haunting and poignant story of a how a young Japanese girl's understanding of the historic and tragic bombing of Hiroshima is transformed by a memorial lantern-floating ceremony. Soul Lanterns is an honest exploration of what happened on August 6, 1945, and offers readers a glimpse not only into the rich cultural history of Japan but also into the intimate lives of those who recognize--better than most--the urgent need for peace. Age Range: 10 - 12 years

Call Number: J Kuzki.S

Temple Alley Summer

Title: Temple Alley Summer
By: Sachiko Kashiwaba
Published: 2021

Renowned Japanese children's author Sachiko Kashiwaba (who wrote the novel that inspired Spirited Away), wrote a new book translated in 2021 as Temple Alley Summer, a fantastical and mysterious adventure filled with the living dead, magical pearls, and a suspiciously nosy black cat named Kiriko. One rainy night, Kazu sees a strange figure in a white kimono sneak out of his house--was he dreaming? Did he see a ghost? Age Range: 8 - 13 years

Call Number: J Kashi.S

I live in Tokyo

Title: I live in Tokyo
By: Mari Takabayashi
Published: 2001

Far away, in the Pacific Ocean, Tokyo is a busy city of color, activity, celebrations, super gigantic buildings, and much, much more. In this city lives a seven-year-old girl named Mimiko. Here you can follow a year’s worth of fun, food, and festivities in Mimiko’s life, month by month. Age Range: 4 - 7 years

Call Number: x952 Takab.M

Japanese Children's Favorite Stories

Title: Japanese Children's Favorite Stories
By: Florence Sakade
Published: 1953

This classic collection of Japanese fairy tales was first published in 1953. Written in English, they are tales that Japanese adults grew up with in Japan. Much like the tales Aesop, the Grimm Brothers, and Hans Christian Anderson collected, they have a few moments that may seem a bit harsh by today's childhood standards. Age Range: 5- 8 years

Call Number: Call Number: x398 Sa2j

Japanese Traditions:  Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms, and Matsuri:  A Year of Seasonal Japanese Festivities

Title: Japanese Traditions: Rice Cakes, Cherry Blossoms, and Matsuri: A Year of Seasonal Japanese Festivities
By: Setsu Broderick
Published: 2010

A delightful look at Japanese culture and family life, Japanese Traditions is an intricately illustrated romp through the childhood reminiscences of author/illustrator Setsu Broderick. Told via a series of short text blocks and lighthearted illustrations based on cats, Japanese Traditions displays seasonal festivals and activities such as O-Bon, O-hanami (cherry blossom viewing) and preparing for the New Year. Age Range: 6-10 years

Call Number: x394.26952 Brode.S

Niki Nakayama: a chef's tale in 13 bites

Title: Niki Nakayama: a chef's tale in 13 bites
By: Debbi Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak
Published: 2021

This picture book biography tells the story of the female Japanese-American chef and her rise to fame. The authors Debbi Michiko Florence and Jamie Michalak detail Niki's hunger for success until we see her in her own upscale Los Angeles Michelin-starred restaurant, n/naka. To anyone who tells her a woman can't be a master chef, Niki lets her food do the talking. And oh, does it talk. Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

Call Number: xBiog Nakay.N Micha.J

Sakamoto's Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory

Title: Sakamoto's Swim Club: How a Teacher Led an Unlikely Team to Victory
By: Julie Abery, illustrated by Chris Sasaki
Published: 2021

The true story of science teacher Soichi Sakamoto, who formed a champion swim club consisting of the Hawaiian and Japanese children of impoverished sugarcane workers in the 1930s. Without a proper pool to swim in, Sakamoto trained his team in irrigation ditches coaching the kids to swim against the natural current, building up the swimmers' strength and endurance. The team surged onto the national swimming scene, dominating events both in the United States and across the world. Age Range: 5-9 years
Call Number: xBiog Sakam.S Abery.J

My Awesome Japan Adventure: A Diary about the Best 4 Months Ever!

Title: My Awesome Japan Adventure: A Diary about the Best 4 Months Ever!
By: Rebecca Otowa
Published: 2013

Staying in Japan for four months could help you to gain a lot of knowledge about Japanese culture and traditions. Here in this book, you read about an American 5th grader who travels to Japan and spends four hilarious months with a Japanese family as an exchange student. Written by a Austalian woman who has lived in Japan since college who married into an ancient family. Age Range: 7 - 12 years

Call Number: x952 Otowa.R

While I was Away

Title: While I was Away
By: Waka Brown
Published: 2021

When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand basic Japanese, they send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime. Age Range: 8-12 (from 101 Great Books for Kids, 2021 edition)

Call Number: xBiog Brown.W Brown.W

Today a reader, tomorrow a leader.

Translate »