The Last Leaves Falling

Benwell, F. (2015). The Last Leaves Falling. UK: Definitions Young Adult.

I can’t even. This is a beautiful story of a teenage boy in Japan who enjoys playing baseball and dreaming of becoming a professor until one day when his legs simply fail him on the field and he collapses.  Sora lastleavesfalling
and his mother sit in the doctor’s office and hear a dreaded prognosis of ALS, a degenerate disease that will cause Sora to progressively lose control of his body to the point where he will be in a hospital bed with machines to help him breath and eat.

To be a young man facing death is terrifying, but what concerns Sora most is his mother. His lovely mother who has given everything to Sora already, will need to stop working and stay home to care for her only child. He is truly wracked with guilt at the thought of the people he will leave behind, including the dearest grandparents in the history of grandparents.

A quiet, thoughtful soul, Sora doesn’t have a network of friendship already in place in his life, and as a sort of social outlet, he turns to a teenage chat forum. Mai, Kaito, and Sora turn out to form an incredible support system for each other. Continue reading


Are You An Echo?

Kaneko , M. (2016). Are You An Echo? Seattle: Chin Music Press Inc.
edited by by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi

I’m going to start with the drawings so they don’t get lost. Toshikado Hajiri’s illustrations in the children’s picturebook, Are You An Echo? are beautiful and make me stop long enough to recognize the 28818676beauty not only in the pictures, but before me in my life. Fitting, for the poetry of Misuzu Kaneko is childlike, clear, and feels strong enough to stop time.

It was powerful enough to make Setsuo Yazaki research sixteen years for the Kaneko’s lost poetry. For all he could find was a poem that delighted him. How could someone understand how fish felt? Big Catch: Continue reading


Kadohata, C. (2004). Kira-Kira. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

Newbery Medal (2005)

“Kira-Kira: The Japanese word for glittering—those beautiful things in the world that are sources of happiness, such as the sky, the stars, and flowers.” -Encyc

Kira-Kira was Katie’s first word. Her sister, Lynn, taught it to her and it has been one of the many connections of their sisterhood. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata is historical89731
fiction for ages ten to fourteen and has been awarded a Newbery Medal. The plot follows these two sisters after their family relocates to Georgia in the southern United States where they experience racism because they are Japanese. Katie especially struggles to adjust to her new environment, but with Lynn’s help she manages to feel like herself again, finding beauty all around her. Then the most tragic thing happens. Lynn becomes feverish, bedridden, and Katie’s life begins to turn around again with trouble in school and socially since her sister is her best friend. Although her Continue reading