Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston

  • Title and author:  Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms by Robert Paul Weston and Misa Saburi
  • Publisher:  Penguin Random House
  • Published:  February 20, 2018
  • Pages:  40 pages
  • Genre:  Children’s literature / children’s picture books / culture

SYNOPSIS

Sakura’s dad gets a new job in America, so she and her parents make the move from their home in Japan. When she arrives in the States, most of all she misses her grandmother and the cherry blossom trees, under which she and her grandmother used to play and picnic. She wonders how she’ll ever feel at home in this new place, with its unfamiliar language and landscape. One day, she meets her neighbor, a boy named Luke, and begins to feel a little more settled. When her grandmother becomes ill, though, her family takes a trip back to Japan. Sakura is sad when she returns to the States and once again reflects on all she misses. Luke does his best to cheer her up — and tells her about a surprise he knows she’ll love, but she’ll have to wait till spring. In the meantime, Sakura and Luke’s friendship blooms and finally, when spring comes, Luke takes her to see the cherry blossom trees flowering right there in her new neighborhood.

Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms captures the beauty of the healing power of friendship through Weston’s Japanese poetry-inspired text and Saburi’s breathtaking illustrations.

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Meet the author:   Robert Paul Weston’s first novel was Zorgamazoo, a Booklist top ten debut of 2008. Born in the UK and raised in Canada, Robert Paul Weston lives in Toronto, where he currently teaches creative writing at the University of Toronto.

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REVIEW:

This little story is about Sakura, a Japanese girl whose life is transplanted from Japan to America. She misses her grandmother, Obaachan and the little things they would do together in the spring when the cherry trees were blooming. Sakura finds learning a new language to be a bit tricky, as English sounds are very different from Japanese words. Her new little friend Luke is helping her adapt to her new life in America, such as making snow angels (I adore the snow angel picture!)

The story is written in a series of traditional tanka poems. A lovely little book that teaches children that, although learning a new language and culture can be difficult, it can have it’s own rewards and joys.