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
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.