Travel is an incredible way to open your children's eyes to a world of possibilities. Whether it's taking a family vacation or reading a great travel book, both are sure to broaden a child's horizon. Diary-style novels, in particular, are a fun way to discover another culture, making them relatable and exciting to read.
My Awesome Japan Adventure is written from the perspective of Dan, a typical American fifth grader who hasn’t experienced many things outside his hometown. That is until he embarks on a four-month exchange program in Japan.
Through his journal inserts, Dan gives readers an in-depth view of day-to-day life for Japanese children, such as attending middle school and the typical food eaten. This writing style, by author Rebecca Otowa, makes for easy connections to a child’s own culture and everyday experiences. Throughout the story, there are many points for parents to stop and chat with their child, to dig deeper into what’s going on and gauge their thoughts.
Readers will learn about playing karuta, eating micro sushi, bowing, manga stories, ninjas and more. Dan also records his thoughts and feelings during his Japanese homestay. In particular, he details the relationships he develops with his ‘family’ brother and sister, Daisuke and Mari. The pages reveal his observations, neatly printed and accompanied by detailed drawings, making his adventures fun to read.
Originally from California, Otowa moved to rural Japan where she has lived for the past thirty years with her Japanese husband and two sons. This experience has given her a deep understanding of Japanese culture, and what it’s like as a foreigner to immerse yourself in a completely different life. This sentiment resonates through the book and contributes to how realistic the story feels.
Selected as one of the ‘Best Books’ by the Association of Booksellers for Children, My Awesome Japan Adventure is an easy-to-read story that’s filled with interesting facts. They are delivered in a way that will surely encourage any child to learn more about Japan and the world around them.
Kendra Perkins is Head Librarian at an international school. She was Coordinator for the Shanghai Librarians Network and Ambassador of China for the International Librarians Network. Find her at www.TheInspiredLibrarian.com