The Piano Recital

It’s the day of Momo’s first piano recital. As she nervously waits for her turn to play, she tells herself, “I’ll be okay, I’ll be okay” Then she hears a voice nearby, also saying, “I’ll be okay … I’ll be okay …” It’s a mouseling! And the little mouse is nervous about her first performance, too. The mouseling invites Momo through a small door backstage, where Momo is amazed to find a miniature theater filled with an audience of finely dressed mice there to watch singers, dancers and circus performers! When it’s the mouseling’s turn, Momo agrees to accompany her on piano. The mouse audience is so appreciative! But then, as she rises to take her bow, Momo is surprised to discover – it isn’t a mouse audience at all!

Let’s Scare Bear

Mouse, Fox, Spider, and Snake all want to scare Bear. But Bear is the bravest animal in the forest–nothing scares Bear. Except, maybe, one thing. Bear says that he’s scared of manju cakes. Armed with that knowledge, the other animals throw their manju cakes at him. . . .only to learn that the only scary thing is how much Bear loves to eat them!

Sumokitty

A stray kitty gets a job in a sumo stable, chasing mice in exchange for food. But when eating like a sumo wrestler slows our feline hero down, he realizes he must train like a wrestler, too. Through hard work and perseverance–and with a little help from a big buddy–SumoKitty is born! A funny and heartwarming story inspired by the Japanese saying “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”

Grandpa’s Soup

When Grandma dies, Grandpa is too sad to do anything. All day long, day after day, he sits by himself in his house. Then, one day, Grandpa wakes up and realizes he misses the soup his wife used to make for him. So he decides to try to make the soup himself. Though each batch he makes is bigger and better than the last, Granpda hardly gets a taste of it. Unexpected visitors, hungry for soup, keep arriving at his door. Soon, Grandpa discovers that sharing with his new friends is the best cure for his loneliness.

Ojiichan’s Gift

This gentle picture book story will warm children’s hearts as it explores a deep intergenerational bond and the passing of knowledge from grandparent to grandchild over time. The lyrical text by Chieri Uegaki and luminous watercolor illustrations by Genevieve Simms beautifully capture the emotional arc of the story, from Mayumi’s contentment through her anger and disappointment to, finally, her acceptance. The story focuses on an important connection to nature, particularly as a place for quiet reflection. It contains character education lessons on caring, responsibility, perseverance and initiative. It’s also a wonderful way to introduce social studies conversations about family, aging and multiculturalism. Mayumi lives in North America with her Japanese mother and Dutch father, and visits her grandfather in Japan. Some Japanese words are included.