Engaging kids with culture

My First Book of Japanese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book

My First Book of Japanese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book
By Michelle Haney Brown; illustrated by Aya Padrón (North Clarendon, Vt.: Tuttle Publishing, 2017, 32 pp., $10.95, hard cover)

“My First Book of Japanese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book” by Michelle Haney Brown is a delightfully colored children’s book that manages to engage kids with Japan’s rich culture. Going in alphabetical order from A to Z, each page describes a different Japanese word, including the meaning and pronunciation. In addition, the author uses rhyming, making the descriptions to be easier for children to follow. Through the wonderful illustrations of Aya Padron, Japanese words are depicted through pictures of a young boy named Kenji as he goes throughout his daily life in Japan. Whether it’s sleeping on a futon, walking his inu (dog), or eating pan (bread), Kenji and his sister show what it’s like to live in a colorful Japan. Kids who follow along through drawings will love the bright atmosphere, and those with a penchant for curiosity will enjoy learning about Japan. Even someone who is a bit above the targeted age range will still learn something. Although I thought I knew some Japanese words, as I read, I realized how much I don’t know. “My First Book of Japanese Words” is certainly enjoyable for young kids as an introduction to Japanese, and is a charming book that might even teach adults a thing or two.

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