This is post 2 of three I’m writing for Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month. Please see post one. Check back for post 3. Many thanks to Castleview Academy for advice regarding the free printable for this post, as the author of that blog has lived in Japan.
Great Japanese Stories For Kids
Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories and More Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories are favorites at our house. They are quality books and stories. As they are intended for children and are picture books, I can highly recommend them for Pre-K through elementary grade levels!
Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories by Florence Sakade (Tuttle Publishing) is a wonderful collection of stories, including some that are generally recognized as they are similar to other folk tales. The writing is large and the printing is appropriate for young children as the small “a” is correct for manuscript printing. There are delightful pictures with soft colors throughout the book. The stories will hold the children’s interest whether reading to themselves or listening. A boy born from a peach, ogres, and talking tea kettles are a few of the things children will learn about. Some of the characters drink sake, which makes them sing and dance. Just don’t explain that too much as it will go over the heads of the children anyway. You will learn why the jellyfish has no bones! A growing nose is not because of lying but becomes like a clothesline. Did you know you can see a rabbit in the moon? There is a story to explain why in this book. Stories about greed, a boy who is considered silly (because he does exactly what people say, not mean), and toothpick warriors will entertain students who will have thoughtful questions and comments.
More Japanese Children’s Favorite Stories by Florence Sakade (Tuttle Publishing) is a companion version with additional stories. These stories are enchanting. Each story has some heart, some common sense, and some magic which makes for interesting reads. The entire book could not be read in one sitting, and one story a day could be shared. The straw sandal seller has a very happy ending when the charcoal he trades for his shoes for (bad trade) turns out to be magic. A singing turtle tricks some humans and finds a good home that takes him in to live. A baby stolen by bears grows up to become king of the forest but later learns to talk like humans and help his family. A fairy crane weaves cloth! There are so many different ideas in this book that children will experience a new world through the stories.
The links for these books are non-affiliate links. I selected these books as my daughter thinks they are high quality and loaned me her copies. She has traveled to Japan and feels these stories help represent the culture well.
Japan Bingo and More
For this post I made a free Japan bingo game that may be used at school, in homeschools, or for groups such as scouts.
The PDF has enough materials for a classroom game. There are 20 different bingo boards, the teacher cards, and covers.
A matching game may be played with just one child at home or for a center. The same materials may be used. Just make two copies of one game board, and cut one apart for the matching pieces. Place in a center or on a tray to allow quiet work.
More Resources on Japan
There are so many festivals in Japan, from small local ones to big national festivals. When the author of Castleview Academy lived in Japan, she attended as many as possible. This is a link to her post.