Do all little boys go through a Ninja phase? I was waiting at PickyKidPix‘s soccer practice and I noticed another little boy, perhaps 3rd or 4th grade, amuse himself by hurling himself at his mom using a series of martial arts moves to play ninja. Unfortunately, his mom was attempting to work from her computer so he had to find another playmate.
To celebrate the ninja spirit with us all, I’ve found a collection of picture books including Japanese traditional folk tales with young heroes. To promote learning about Japan and a Japanese culture, I’m also doing a giveaway of two more books. I would have given away a single book but the number four is unlucky in Japan so I added a Japanese poetry book to bring the total book count up to five. Five is a good number, phew!
Here is my little ninja in a blooper as he attempts to teach himself how to use Nunchucks. (Luckily the handles are made of soft foamy rubber!)
My Picture Book of the Day
Ninja! by Arree Chung
This wonderfully exuberant picture book reminds me of my little boy who, at times, delights in playing ninja games and other feats of martial arts mastery. A little boy pretends to be a ninja, and using common household items such as a jump rope, kitchen rubber gloves, a billiard stick and a paddle with ball toy, attempts his ultimate heist! Will he go undetected? [picture book, ages 4 and up]
The Last Kappa of Old Japan: A Magical Journey of Two Friends by Sunny Seki
Have you ever eaten a cucumber roll at a sushi restaurant? You might not have realized it, but you were exposed to Kappas! Kappas are mythological creatures in Japanese folk tales who can cause trouble for humans. They are believed to be messengers of the god of water.
This is a Japanese “Lorax” folk tale with a cautionary message about taking care of our earth! A human boy and a young Kappa become unlikely friends and their friendship is tested when the Kappa must move away when industrialization pollutes the boy’s town. Years later, the boy (now a man) calls upon his old friend when his baby falls into a rapidly moving stream.
You’ll have to read this tale to find out how cucumber rolls relate to this story! [folk tale, ages 4 and up]
Yuko-Chan and the Daruma Doll: The Adventures of a Blind Japanese Girl Who Saves Her Village by Sunny Seki
Have you ever seen a Daruma Doll? Daruma dolls are symbols of perseverance and good luck, and are popular gifts of encouragement. They continue to commercialized at Buddhist temples and are sold all over Japan as reminders for setting and achieving goals.
This Japanese folk tale tells the story of how a blind Japanese girl came up with the idea for the Daruma doll, and saved her village in the process. [folk tale, ages 4 and up]
Learning About Japan Books for Kids GIVEAWAY
All About Japan: Stories, Songs, Crafts and More by Willamarie Moore, illustrated by Kazumi Wilds
A wonderful introduction to the culture, history, geography and language of Japan, this book packs it all in with recipes, stories, games and activities. If your child is studying about Japan either at home or at school, this one book can do it all! It’s also the 2012 Creative Child Magazine Preferred Choice Award Winner! [picture book, ages 5 and up]
Japanese Nursery Rhymes: Carp Streamers, Falling Rain and other traditional favorites (audio CD included) by Danielle Wright, illustrated by Helen Acraman
I’d pair this book of Japanese nursery rhymes with All About Japan. It comes with an audio CD which is an easy way to expose kids to the Japanese language and culture! Each nursery rhyme is translated in English and Japanese and includes Japanese writing.
To win these two books, please enter the Rafflecopter below.
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BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.