I cannot believe it’s the first week of May! It feels like only yesterday we were ringing in the New Year in Hawaii…almost half the year has gone by, and we’ve ticked off a few more countries from our travel bucket list.
We’re currently in South Korea, and as I’m writing this, the kids are working on their homeschooling assignments. Even though we’re traveling, we always start our mornings off with homeschooling sessions – whether it be Leah’s ASL class, or the kids Arabic lessons via Skype, they get their schooling done before we can start our day.
This week is special because it’s Children’s Book Week and thanks to our friends at Tuttle Publishing, we’re celebrating the week by having the kids read Japanese Celebrations, a book filled with Japanese holidays, culture, language, and interesting cultural stories.
What is Children’s Book Week?
Beginning in 1919, Children’s Book Week is an annual celebration of books for kids across America and was started to promote literacy and reading in schools and homes across the USA. This year is its 98th anniversary, and over 500 libraries, bookstores and schools will host Book Week story times, activity hours, and so much more. Here’s a map to find out where a Children’s Book Week event is happening near you.
Book of the Week: Japanese Celebrations
We chose to read a book about Japan because we had just visited the country last year and had such an incredible time. Japan is such a unique country, and we barely scratched the surface on getting to know its people, culture, and places – the kids often ask when we’re going back. So in preparation for our next trip, I thought it would be appropriate for them to learn more about the country they’ve fallen in love with.
Japanese Celebrations, written and illustrated by Betty Reynolds, is filled with wonderful and vibrant illustrations, and is easy to read through. Leah really liked that the descriptions included Japanese text as well as a page dedicated to all the Japanese words used in the book…maybe her next language to learn will be Japanese? 😃
There were some festivals we were already familiar with – like Cherry Blossom season (link), but others, like Harvest Moon Viewing, were new to us, and might be worth visiting Japan again just to experience them.
While we learned so much about Japanese culture and tradition while in Japan, the book served as a good refresher for the kids. You may recall that one of the highlights of our trip last year was getting to watch a sumo match in Tokyo. There was a section about sumo wrestling which got Jaf aka sumo-lover interested in reading the book as well!
Even though Japan is extremely modern in some ways, it’s good to see that century old traditions still prevail and are passed on to the subsequent generations. Hawaii has a large Japanese population, so we see a lot of the holidays and festivals being celebrated on the islands, but also realize that not all traditions make it stateside.
The kids like the idea of ringing in the New Year with a dinner that consists of traditional foods from a few of the countries they’ve visited – the page highlighting all the foods that are eaten during a Japanese New Year will certainly come in handy when the time comes!
If you’re planning a trip to Japan with the family and want the kids to learn more about the country they’re about to visit, I highly recommend getting a copy of Japanese Celebrations. The information is provided in a visual and simple format that makes it a fun book for the kids to read. Get a copy here.
Disclaimer: Thanks to Tuttle Publishing for offering us a copy of Japanese Celebrations for review. However, as always, all opinions expressed on the blog are our own.