It’s raining right now, but it’s been a snowy week in the Cleveland area. These are the steps down to the waterfall in the next town over earlier this week. I’ve started planning a roadtrip vacay for February and I’m hoping we can avoid the white stuff for a bit. Jason got some new furniture for his home office. Gage has art class once a week just a few minute drive from this picture, so I enjoy the time walking around the village, it even has a bookstore! It’s been a relatively quiet week otherwise.
Books read – 5 (22 for the year)
What a beautiful, heartbreaking, gut wrenching, hopeful picture book about Sachiko Yasui, a survivor of the atomic bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan during WWII.
Sachiko and her family always ate out of her grandmother’s bowl, filling it with the delicacies of the region, until the war forced plainer fare. At 6, she was half a mile from ground zero. It killed all of her playmates and one of her siblings. Two of her brothers died soon after from radiation exposure.
When the family went back 2 years later they found her grandmother’s bowl in the rubble of their home, unscathed. Every August 9, first her mother and then she, put ice in the bowl to remember those last.
Gage and I are studying Japan this week and this is the only time I set aside to talk about the bombings but what a great discussion we had.
I cannot recommend this book enough for your middle schooler, but be prepared to talk about death and the ugliness of war. Gage knew the details of the war but this story really brought the people to life.
Sachiko outlived her family and died in 2021 at the age of 83. I’ll be feeling this book for awhile.
The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border
The fictional story of a young girl from Mexico making her way to the US border with her mother. Once at the San Ysidro checkpoint in Tijuana, they are met with the kindness of the notebook keeper as they wait for their opportunity to enter the US.
It perfectly depicts the reason she leaves Mexico, the stress of getting to the border, and the worry of waiting for the elementary age set.
It also gives some additional information about the notebook keeper, a refugee chosen to keep track of those coming to seek asylum until their own number was called and the responsibility was handed to another refugee.
I loved the illustrations and the story. Highly recommended. 40 pages.
All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More
We loved this book. It was a really an all-in-one curriculum for kids. 64 pages of stories, activities, songs, information giving in a fun way. I’ll definitely be looking for more of these as we continue our world travels.
These were so-so
More Than You’ll Ever Know had potential, enough that I made it through the 436 novel, barely. I did almost give up on it a few times, but liked it enough to see it through to the end. This would have probably been a better book if it had been 100 pages shorter. It’s about a woman leading a double life, married to two different men in two different countries. And then one of them is murdered. It’s dual storyline involved the reporter trying to unravel the truth. If the true crime nature of the plot interests you, give it a try.
Beyond Me I’m not a fan of books written in verse, but as a homeschool mom I decided to spread my wings a little and give Beyond Me by Annie Donwerth-Chikamatsu a try for Japan week.
This is a 304 page middle school novel about a girl in Japan and her experiences after the 2011 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that killed around 20,000 people. She was in a safe area, but didn’t feel safe as aftershock after aftershock and radiation fears from the nuclear plant left her feeling scared.
I read this to Gage this week and liked it well enough, but it didn’t make me love books written in verse any better 🤷🏻♀️. We tried.
When the Sakura Bloom was a pretty little book for elementary kids about the importance of cherry blossom trees in Japan and being mindful of the nature around us.
Reviews Posted The Personal Librarian, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo
On the TV
Jason and I finished season 1 of The Recruit (not a fan, but I puzzled while watching, lol) and season 2 of Emily in Paris (which he claims to hate, but he’s made it through 2 seasons so you decide)
To All the Boys: Always and Forever I’m glad I finally finished the trilogy. The first one was still my favorite, but the conclusion was much better that than the second one.
Long Story Short A sweet romantic movie with an interesting premise. What if you lived one day every year of your life, seeing your life in snapshots? (tip-don’t overthink it)
Happy National Puzzle Day! I’m still working on the same 3000 piece puzzle. It’s coming along slowly.
Plans for the weekend
When there’s a stop in the rain, a family hike. What about you?