A Look at Japan for Asian / Pacific Island Heritage Month

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Multicultural Kid Blogs is hosting a blog hop today for this heritage month and I decided to focus mostly on Japan. I have a bunch of fun books to share with you to help focus on Japan and its culture. It is a mixture of coloring books, origami kits, a novel and an Asian cookbook. The first book I am going to share is another book in the Friendship Dolls Series from Candlewick Press. I reviewed the other two previously. Today's book is Dolls of Hope by Shirley Parenteau. 

Dolls of Hope is acutally the middle book in the trilogy. It picks of where Ships of Dolls leaves off. Emily Grace is in Tokoyo and a Japanese girl who is at the welcoming ceremony to perform with her new school falls in love with her. A photographer captures a loving moment between the girl and the doll and the girl becomes a celebrity. This is something a traditional Japanese girl does not want. And the culture and love of the doll as well as learning the traditional Japanese manners and seeing the country's ways changing are all in this book. It is a wonderful tale based on the real historical events of the doll exchange. There is discussion about the different types of dolls in Japan as well. 

I love how Dolls of Hope captures the culture of the changing country. It is set in the 1920s. There is the history of the flappers, geisha as well as the split country--some welcome the friendship dolls and others think they should not accept them since they may want to conquer the United States at some point. This entire series is wonderful. They are middle grade books (grades 3-7). They have interesting stories from history as well as girls dealing with friendship and life issues that happen everywhere. 

Origami is the Japanese art of paper folding. Besides being fun and decorative there are also uses in schools for teaching math and more. Be sure to check out some of my other origami posts for lots of different ideas! Today I am going to share two origami kits from Tuttle Publishing. The first is Origami Fish and Other Sea Creatures Kit by Nick Robinson.

This kit comes with an instructions book and paper. 

The instructions are easy to follow and the pictures are helpful.
I made the 3-D fish and angel fish. There are 20 projects in the book and on the instructions page and on the contents page they are rated for level of difficulty.

There are many fun ones to try and lots of fun paper to make them as well.

Our second origami kit is the Origami Gift Cards Kit by Michael G. Fosse and Richard L. Alexander.

This kit has different designs to make note cards and envelopes and more! The kit comes with instructions for over 20 projects and papers.

I tried a few of these projects like this business card holder.

How fun would it be to have a beautiful origami card holder on your desk? 

I also tried the sailboat card. Isn't it pretty?

This is the sunray card. Now this book reminds me of my middle and high school days and passing notes to friends. Did you fold your notes into fun shapes? We did, but nothing like these This is a fun book with lots of cool ways to fold notes or envelopes. 

Next we will look at two coloring books. The first shares some Japanese art with us. Beautiful Women: Japanese Prints Coloring Book by Noor Azlina Yunus has information about Japanese artists and samples of their prints. Then it has a black and white illustration of the print for you to color. 

I love how the prints give you a taste of the culture of Japan through time. There are traditional ones and more modern prints.

Of course it is up to the person coloring the page whether to go with the colors of the print or to get creative. 

I used water color pencils to color this illustration of Katsushika Hokusai. Then the one below reminded me of the descriptions of the flappers of the 1920s in Dolls of Hope

Our second coloring book is Meditations on Tea: A Coloring Book to Soothe the Soul by Okakua Kakuzo. 

This book shares a glimpse at the Japanese tea ceremony as well as the country's love of tea. Be sure to check out our Japanese tea party to learn more about the tea ceremony. 

Some of the pages have words in the illustrations and others are just pictures.

The pages have tea cups, flowers, people and more on them. All of them have to do with tea.

I started coloring a few of the pages in this book but have not had much time to color recently and never finished any of them.

The illustrations are fun and have a large variety for the person coloring.

Our final book for our look at Japan is Farm to Table Asian Secrets by Patricia Tanumihardja. Now this book is not exclusively Japanese recipes, but it does have some. It is a perfect book for celebrating Asian Pacific American Heritage Month since it has such a nice variety of cultures.

The recipes are divided by season. Since it is a vegetarian cookbook it is important to know which vegetables are best in the current season. The book also breaks up the recipes as to what they are--starters and snacks, family-style dishes and all-in-one dishes. 

One traditional Japanese food is ponzu sauce and there is a recipe in this book for it. 
The recipes look easy though I did not try any yet. My family is not great about eating vegetarian and complain when I try to make them. The ingredients are mostly items carried at a regular grocery store. The photographs are colorful and fun.  For other Japanese food be sure to check out this book on vegetarian sushi

Recently we also shared a book about writing the Japanese poems, haiku. We also have shared resources for learning Kanji (Japanese writing), Japanese language and more! I hope you will take the time to check out all of these resources and the products I have reviewed here. I know you will not be disappointed. 
Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop 2018 | Multicultural Kid Blogs 
 Welcome to our fifth annual Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month Blog Hop! Below you can explore ideas about sharing with kids the rich cultures of this vast and varied region. For even more ideas, visit our blog hops from last year, 2016, 2015 and 2014. You can also follow our Asia and Australia & Oceania boards on Pinterest.
Participating Blogs