I am always delighted to help find books for kids. A young USAF family being reassigned from Japan sent me an email asking for book recommendations for Japanese themed and Japanese/English, bilingual books. These are the books I’d recommend to keep the kids exposed to the Japanese language.
I just found out about Tuttle Publishing and they sent me the perfect book!
My First Book of Japanese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book by Michelle Haney Brown
This is a lovely picture book in ENGLISH but with Japanese words for each letter both in Hiragane and Kanji. There is also interesting tidbits of information about the Japanese culture that kids would enjoy. [picture book, ages 2 and up]
Japanese Themed Picture Books for Preschoolers
Here are more picture books with a reference to Japan.
I also have a post on Top 10: Japanese American Books and Teach Me Tuesday: Japan
These books are great and have Japanese vocabulary words throughout both books as well as cover the holidays and traditions of the Japanese people. I learned a lot from them!
Japanese Themed Easy Chapter Book
The Story of Yuriwaka: A Japanese Odyssey is a short chapter book which would be good for the older son.
A Haiku Poetry Book
This picture book is a tranlation of Haiku poems by Issa, a Japanese poet born in 1763 on a farm in central Japan. He began writing haiku as a young child.
I found these books that also might be good:
Recommendations from Readers
Thank you to Rachel for this great recommendation! I have heard so much about this book but I don’t think I’ve read it yet! [picture book, ages 6-9]
To view any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.