Teaching Children's Literature

“A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.” ~C.S. Lewis



Bibliographic Information: Tsunami! Written by Kimiko Kajikawa. Illustrated by Ed Young. Published by The Penguin Group, New York, c. 2009

Lexile Level: 620L

Synopsis: Tsunami! is the story of wise Ojiisan, or grandfather, a respected old rice farmer in a Japanese village.  When he senses something is wrong during the village’s celebration of the rice harvest, Ojiisan sets the rice on fire in order to bring all of the villagers up the mountain before a Tsunami hits.

Rational for Classroom Use: This book can be used as an example of a Japanese folktale and can be compared to other Japanese tales, as well as to traditional literature from other cultures.  Students can find the moral of the story, that Ojiisan is willing to sacrifice everything in the hopes of saving the villagers, and look for other stories similar messages.  This book could also be used in a discussion about why Ojiisan and his grandson Tada respond the way they do to the story’s events.

Common Core Connection:

2.RL.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.

2.RL.3 Describe how characters in a story respond to major events and challenges.


About Kristen

I am an elementary school teacher with five years of experience in 4th and 5th grades. I am taking a year off from teaching to get my masters in Reading through the New Literacies and Global Learning program at NC State University.

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This entry was posted on June 13, 2013 by in Picturebooks, Uncategorized and tagged , , .

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