Heading to Japan with the little ones in tow? Pick up some picture books before your trip – they’re guaranteed to get everyone excited about the upcoming adventure! Here are a few of my favorite choices:
- One Leaf Rides the Wind by Celeste Mannis – A young girl goes on a poetic tour of a Japanese garden. Easy haiku and beautiful illustrations grace each page. A great read if you’re planning to visit any Japanese gardens.
- Hachiko by Pamela Turner – The classic tale of a devoted dog in pre-war Tokyo is a winner with young kids. Read the book before you leave and then pay homage to the famous pooch at his statue just outside Shibuya station.
- Fold Me A Poem by Kristine O’Connell George – A young boy folds sheets of colored paper into a series of charming origami animals. Haiku-like text accompanies each illustration. While there aren’t any specific instructions on how to fold any of the book’s origami creations, an appendix lists a number of resources to point you in the right direction.
- First Book of Sushi by Amy Wilson Sanger – Not everyone loves seaweed and squid but this book is a great way to demystify one of the major components of Japanese cuisine. You might have better look getting the kids to try nigiri sushi after giving this a read!
- I Live in Tokyo by Mari Takabayashi – A 7-year-old girl leads readers on a cultural romp through a year of Japanese holidays and festivals. Lots of illustrations and opportunities to learn Japanese words.
There are so many more that didn’t make the list, perhaps I’ll have another 5 Faves on the same subject at a later date!
What is your favorite kids’ book on Japan or Japanese culture?
We have the First Book of Sushi and love it! Our 3yo still asks for “Big, big futomaki!”
That’s adorable! Did she have the chance to try any futomaki specifically while you were in Japan?
She had the opportunity but did not take it; too busy with ebi and tamago!