Ever since I discovered Erik’s blog called This Kid Reviews Books, I’ve been intrigued. As I visited his site more often, I became amazed at how prolific, how genuine, and how talented Erik is. I love how avid a reader he is and how he talks about his favorite books so enthusiastically in his reviews (he has a different rating system that I find to be quite ingenious, really). Since our site is intended to give space to voices of the youth through our Quill Junior section, I invited Erik to do a guest post for our bimonthly theme Festival of Asian Literature and the Immigrant Experience. I am thrilled that he said yes. Without further introduction, here is his piece.
I am so grateful that Ms. Myra Bacsal invited me to do a guest post on the Gathering Books blog! I couldn’t pick out just one great book for their topic of Asian Literature and Immigrant Experience, so I picked out two great books! One is a picture book, while the other is a middle grade novel! The picture book, “Grandfather’s Journey” is a book that we read and talked about in school and I really enjoyed it. The middle grade novel, “Flying the Dragon”, is a book I reviewed on my site before but I thought it fit really well into the Immigrant Experience and multicultural topic and it’s told from a kid’s point of view. I hope you enjoy my reviews! J
Grandfather’s Journey (Caldecott Medal Book)
By Allen Say
Published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children on October 25, 1993
32 pages – ages 4+
Grandfather went to America from Japan. He traveled across America and then returned to Japan to get married. He then took his wife to San Francisco, California in the United States, and that is where his daughter was born. When his daughter was a teenager, he moved back to Japan, right before World War II broke out. After the war and Japan recovered, Grandfather planned to take his family on a trip to America, but, sadly, he died before he could take them there.
This is a marvelous story about an immigrant who didn’t know if he wanted to stay in his home country (Japan), or his second favorite country (America). Mr. Say wrote the book from the stories his grandfather told him. It is a sad story, especially because of the War and reading about how people suffered. I’m pretty sure that Mr. Say’s grandfather told him this story many times. I think this is a good example of how people decide to move from one country to another and the hard decisions they make and the problems they have.
by Natalie Dias Lorenzi
Will be Published by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. on July 1, 2012
240 pages – ages 8-12
Skye’s family members from Japan are coming to live with her family in America (Virginia). Skye does not want her Aunt, Uncle, Grandfather and Cousin (Hiroshi) to come because she really doesn’t know them at all. We also find out that Hiroshi really doesn’t want to come to America to live either. Neither kid gets what they want. Skye and Hiroshi don’t understand each other and don’t really like each other. Both kids are feeling out-of-place. Over time, the kids start to realize they have some things they like to do that are the same and that they both love their Grandfather very much. The death of their Grandfather brings Skye and Hiroshi together. They find that they can work as a team and compete in the rokkaku kite-flying contest at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC and they both find they “fit in” at the contest.
I really enjoyed this book. The story is a very good one. I really liked the Grandfather character in the book (I wish he didn’t die). He was a very nice and wise man. I liked how I learned about the Japanese culture from this book and how different cultures act with each other. I liked learning about how even though Skye was Japanese in heritage, she really never thought about herself being Japanese (because she lived in America) and then that part of her family came and she felt like she didn’t fit in. The rokkaku kites also sound really cool too. It is definitely a book I would read again.
Thanks again to everyone at Gathering Books for inviting me to be a guest blogger!
I’m a ten-year-old kid who started a book review blog (This Kid Reviews Books) because I love books! My blog has grown over the past 1 ½ years and I am grateful that I get to “talk” to people from all over the world about books, reading and writing.
Hi Erik! I’m so glad you agreed to submit a review and be our guest blogger. Oh…before anything else..i like your shirt in the photo. hahaha.
Anyway, the interesting thing about your review is that they are both Japan-related and are about grandfathers. I don’t know if you meant that or if its just coincidence. I have not read both books though I know Myra loves Allen Say. Being a big Japanese fan I’ll most likely pick up these books. I like the second book, i like the idea of two cultures (despite both being Japanese) merging.
thanks again for gracing our blog Erik!
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Thank you Ms. Iphigene! I am so glad I was offered to send a review in! It was just a coincedence about them both being of Japanese culture and both having Grandfathers involved. I hope you and Ms. Bascal like the books!
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I love the Grandfather’s Journey book, Erik & agree that it is a good book that shows the mixed feelings about immigrating. My class of middle schoolers studied much about immigration a few years ago & then traveled to NYC to see different pertinent areas of the city that is filled with immigrants. It was great. The other book looks interesting & I will put in on the list & look for it when it comes out. I just put your blog on my reader & look forward to reading more posts. I am now a literacy coach & am trying to learn more about the books below middle school age. It looks like your blog will help me. Thanks for the good reviews.
I am glad you like my review(s) and Grandfather’s Journey! I think what you did with Middle Schoolers was great! I hope you like Flying the Dragon. 🙂
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Great post, Erik! 🙂
Thanks Ms. Hill!
Awesome job, as always, Erik. Flying the dragon is still on my TBR list. I have to get to that one this summer. Love the pic! 🙂
Thank you Mrs. Isenhoff! I hope you like the book when it comes out! 🙂
I adored both reviews here. I especially enjoyed you sharing the take-aways from the books, the things you learned from reading things books. The second one sounds like one I’d really like to get for my daughter when it comes out. Thank you so much for both great reviews, Erik.
Thank you Ms. Brown! I am glad you like my reviews! I hope your daughter likes Flying the Dragon! 🙂