Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen is the story of an eight-year-old girl who wishes she was older for the fast approaching Japanese New Year’s celebration. If she was only ten! Then she could help the women make the mochi and not have to babysit the younger cousins. Remember wishing to be older in order to be able to participate in different activities such as going to school, taking piano lessons, and learning to read? Those are all things Sophie, Jasmine’s older sister, is able to do. And this year Sophie gets to make Mochi as she is ten, and Jasmine is only eight. But Jasmine has a plan! It involves getting some muscles quick and not competing with her older sister at all. The author of this book is Debbi Michiko Florence, and the illustrator is Elizabet Vukovic.
Jasmine gets out of having to help clean and sweep when Sophie accuses her of hitting, and since she can’t get along, she is sent to her room. All according to plan! She doesn’t have to keep cleaning and since she hates cleaning, this is a happy kind of punishment. The usual kinds of sibling rivalry and even a difficult cousin are woven through the story making it relatable to children everywhere. The Japanese New Year traditions are mentioned as part of the story and will add to your child’s or students’ cultural understanding. Especially if you have Japanese students, this book would certainly be a welcome addition to the class or school library. Our librarian used to order books we wanted for the library, and this would be a good one to request. There are additional Jasmine Toguchi books as this is a series.
I received a free copy of the paperback for the 2018 Multicultural Children’s Book Day event. This event happens near the end of January each year, and I have participated by making other free book companions in prior years. This title is a Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 Selection, An Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017, An Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids List 2017, and also a Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books 2017.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR) (July 11, 2017)
We had to try Mochi which we didn’t pound with hammers or make by hand. One of the local grocery stores has this item available, so we took the easy way out. What a lovely dessert and tasting it while thinking of all the work that it probably required to make it makes it even sweeter. Using plates decorated with flowers helps make the experience even more fun. Who would imagine the hammer Jasmine uses is actually so huge? This picture below helps put the hammer’s size into perspective. When I read the book I had no idea how large it was, so I would show this picture to children as a prereading anticipatory set to help them appreciate Jasmine’s desire to be strong enough to lift such a thing.
Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/18) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators. This is one of several posts I am writing for this year’s event.
Current Sponsors: MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board.