BOOK GROUPS

Book Covers

Somewhere Among Through the eyes of a young girl students can relate to the loneliness and fear of not-fitting in and not knowing the cultural cues encountered in entering a new school. Ema, the protagonist, is the daughter of an American mother and a Japanese father, living in Japan and happy with her home and friends. Her mother’s pregnancy necessitates that they live for a semester at her grandparents’ home, in suburban Tokyo, where Ema experiences more of Japanese culture while she navigates her way through it at home and school, and spends more time with her grandmother.

The Night Parade A fantasy story that will appeal to many middle school students, The Night Parade bridges past and present Japanese cultural customs. It is filled with wonder and imagination, as well as respect and admiration for cultural tradition, and provides a window into Japanese mythology


Book CoverAfter the bombs fell and shook the walls of Nanjing, the Imperial Japanese Army entered and seized the Chinese capital. Through the dust of the demolished buildings, screams echo off the rubble. Two abandoned Chinese soldiers are trapped and desperately outnumbered inside the walled city. What they'll encounter will haunt them. But in the face of horror, they'll learn that resistance and bravery cannot be destroyed by the enemy.

Ethan Young (Tails) delves into World War II's forgotten tragedy, the devastating Japanese invasion of Nanjing, and tells a heart-wrenching tale of war, loss, and defiance. Beautifully illustrated in black and white.

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My Night in the Planetarium : a true story about a child, a play, and the act of resistance 

Non-Fiction – Set in Indonesia

The Indonesian-born graphic designer, Innosanto Nagara, shares “a true story about a child, a play, and the act of resistance” in his award-winning autobiographical picture book.  Starting with a lightly humorous overview of Indonesian history, through colonization by the Dutch, he leads up to 1977, a pivotal moment in his life, during the brutal rule of President Suharto. Nagara’s stunning illustrations depict a play performed in traditional Indonesian dance costumes created and performed by his father in which an unspecified army general is criticized. Police are sent to arrest his father and Innosanto and his mother flee from the production and hide in an adjacent planetarium. What could be a terrifying experience for a child becomes a night filled with the security of strong parental love and the magic of the stars. Nagara’s newest work, along with his earlier books, show the heroic potential of ordinary people and the power of art to challenge injustice.


Book CoversSuch a Lovely Little War , a graphic memoir, tells the story of the early years of the Vietnam war as seen through the eyes of a young boy name Marco, the son of a Vietnamese diplomat and his French wife.  

The Best We Could Do  is an intimate look at one family's journey from their war-torn home in Vietnam to the new lives in America.  This first novel illuminates what it means to be a refugee and the trials in becoming a parent and creating a family in a new home. 

The Good EarthThe Good Earth  paints an indelible portrait of China in the 1920s, when the last emperoro reigned and the vast political and social upheavels of the twentieth century were but distant rumblings.  Nick Bertozzi brings Buck's timeles, epic novel to life with incredible imagery and sensitivity.

Book CoverEvery Falling Star, A memoir of Sungju Lee, a North Korean boy who was forced at the age of twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself.  Sungju tells what it was like to be separated from his parents; to be alone; to have to create a new family with his gang, his "brothers"; to be hungry every day; and to fear arrest, imprisonment, and even execution.  He transferred is taekwondo skills to street fighting.  He drank. He smoked. He became a pickpocket and dropped out of school.  He lost everything but the hope that he would meet his parents again.  With this hope, he wished whenever he saw a falling star. 

Book CoverBoxers and Saints is an innovative novel in two volumes--the parallel stories of two young people caught up on opposite sides of a violent rift, Boxers and Christians, during the Boxer Rebellion.  

Book CoverThe Family, a masterpiece of contemporary Chinese literature, narrates the story of a landlord-capitalist family in the early 1920s.  There are many conflicts of ideas and attitudes in this family.  They bear the hallmark of an age when old traditions and oppressive feudal authority are strongly challenged.  Presented in a graphic novel, this book is a comprehensive prelude to the original classic.