While moving is never fun, it’s always a treat to discover the local library in my new home. The library has been an invaluable to resource over the years to me, and I am constantly surprised by the unique and enjoyable resources it often holds.
This week, I found the book K is for Kabuki: A Japan Alphabet on the shelf in the library’s children’s section. While I have seen this series before – and even own the A-Z for my home state of Pennsylvania – the Japan edition was a new find for me.
You can probably guess the layout. Each page (or two page spread) is devoted to a letter and a corresponding topic is chosen (E is for Emperor, L is for Lantern, T is for Tea Ceremony). A full color illustration accompanies each page showing the subject in beautiful detail. The main text often rhymes and is no more than a few lines, but there is plenty of supplemental information provided. Some letters get very creative – H for Haiku is obviously written in haiku; X is unique because there isn’t an “x” in Japanese.
This book is appropriate for a range of ages due to the different text boxes on each page. Younger children will enjoy the simple description and beautiful illustration that accompanies each letter. I was personally astounded by some of the detail in the illustrations (the U for Ukiyo-e page is particularly impressive). Older children and even adults can learn more about each subject from the panels on the sides of each page, which provide greater detail on the topics and even include some words in Japanese (all defined in English as well).
While my shelf is already overflowing with resources, this is one I certainly wouldn’t mind adding permanently. This is a great resource to check out before a trip or for armchair travelers who want to learn a bit more.