Myra here.

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We are excited to join Kidlit Frenzy’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year. Right now we are having a “Buffet of Asian Literature: Makan! Let’s Eat! Kain Tayo!” theme until end of June. We are featuring either Asian-themed titles or food-related themes in books.

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We are having an Allen Say week as we just shared two of his beautiful picturebooks: Allison and The Boy in the Garden for our Monday reading post two days ago. This gorgeously-illustrated nonfiction picturebook is a bit different from Allen Say’s previous works as this is a moving tale about Allen’s own beautiful daughter. It is a story with universal elements that is bound to resonate with a lot of children, especially in our multicultural age.

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When Yuriko’s teacher asked them to bring baby pictures to class, Yuriko was extremely excited. After poring over a great many photographs with her father, she just knew that she would be bringing this picture of herself in a kimono which her father got for her from Tokyo. When she got home, however, she tearfully told her father that her classmates all laughed at her “They said Japanese dolls have black hair” and that her teacher mispronounced her name, calling her “Eureka” by accident.

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Because of this, Yuriko felt that she should just get an American name, something easy to pronounce like Michelle. Her father told Yuriko that he feels that he is getting a new daughter, and so he invited her to have dinner out. It turns out that Michelle likes sushi too.

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This picturebook, as you can see, is absolutely perfect for our current reading theme: not only does it have an Asian theme, it has food (sushi!) as well.

When they got home, Yuriko told her father that their new art teacher would like them to do an art project about the Golden Gate Bridge. She also shared with her father how much she is not enjoying her art class anymore as the teachers simply tell them what to do and that it’s all about completing and submitting projects. Slowly, it seems like everything that defines Yuriko is slowly fading away. How this existential dilemma is resolved, I shall leave for you to discover, dear friends. This is a very touching, poignant tale of a father who clearly knows his daughter’s heart. It shows how patience, active listening, and just the mere act of being there is enough for a confused young girl to rediscover one’s self.

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A gorgeous photograph of Allen Say’s daughter

For teachers who wish to make use of this in the classroom, here is a very detailed and comprehensive downloadable teacher’s guide created by RIF.org that includes a list of vocabulary words, a guide for parents’ and families, and suggested extension activities for teachers.

The Favorite Daughter by Allen Say. Published by Arthur A. Levine Books: An Imprint of Scholastic, Inc., 2013. Book borrowed from the public library. Book photos taken by me.

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Reading Challenge Update: 106 (25)

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Nonfiction PictureBook Challenge: 9 of 25

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Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

2 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Yuriko or Michelle? Allen Say’s The Favorite Daughter

  1. This sounds like a great book! 😀

    Like

  2. What a great title! I love the idea of more books about families with unique elements – as that is becoming the norm and should be celebrated.

    Like

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