Thinking About Japan…

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We’re still in New Orleans, but like everyone, we are overwhelmed by the images coming out of Japan. Each day brings more surreal video – cars and boats that look like toys in the bathtub. If I were at school right now and talking with elementary school students about the events we are seeing unfold, these are the books I would suggest to children who want to learn more:

Tsunami! by Kimiko Kajikawa (This fictional picture book about a man who saves his village from a tsunami by an act of kindness, features amazing collage illustrations by Ed Young.)

Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship by Isabella and Craig Hatkoff (When a young hippo is displaced from its group during a tsunami, it is taken to a Kenyan refuge where it is “adopted” by a giant tortoise. With moving photos by a BBC photographer, this is a wonderful book about friendship.)

Tsunamis and Other Natural Disasters: A Nonfiction Companion to High Tide in Hawaii by Mary Pope Osborn (I like the nonfiction guides to the popular Magic Tree House series. They answer the questions kids have in a direct accessible way.)

Tsunami: Helping Each Other by Ann Morris and Heidi Larson (A vivid photo essay following the experiences of two boys after the 2004 Indian Ocean Tsunami.)

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