Thursday, April 30, 2009
Two Boys from Asia
Here are two chapter books about boys growing up in Asian countries. They were also both so fascinating I had to restrain myself from picking them up and reading the next chapters when the kids were out of the house.
Water Buffalo Days: Growing Up in Vietnam provides an unforgettable flavor of village life in the highlands of Vietnam through the eyes of a timid, young boy whose closest companion is his trusty water buffalo named Tank. It is a true story, with, let me forewarn you, a very sad ending. The book recounts the childhood memories of Quang Nhuong Huynh, who later fought alongside Americans in the South Vietnamese Army. After being shot and paralyzed in the war he received physical therapy in the United States and stayed to pursue an education and, thank heavens, a writing career.
Shipwrecked!: The True Adventures of a Japanese Boy is written by Rhoda Blumberg. Every once in awhile somebody lives a most extraordinary life and in this case that somebody is Manjiro Nakahama. His story is crying out to be made into a movie! From poor fishing boy in ultra-isolationist Japan he winds up shipwrecked, rescued by an American whaling ship, educated in New England, involved in the California gold rush and eventually honored as a samurai back in Japan. In Fairhaven, Massachusetts where Manjiro was schooled the Whitfield-Manjiro Friendship House is being dedicated in recognition of him this May 7th.