The Tsunami Quilt
Illustrated by: Tammy Yee
Published by: Sleeping Bear Press 2007
Ages: 6 years and up
Themes: history, remembrance, love, loss, understanding, multicultural
Opening lines: When I was little, my grandfather and I went everywhere, always sharing stories and discovering new places. We were the best of friends.
Synopsis: From Amazon- In April 1, 1946 – an enormous tsunami wave strikes Hilo, Hawai’i, causing death and destruction. Even those islanders who are fortunate to have survived find their lives forever altered. Young Kimo loves his grandfather very much – they go everywhere together, sharing island stories and experiences. But there is one story his grandfather has yet to share and that is the reason behind their yearly pilgrimage to Laupahoehoe Point. Here, in silent remembrance, Grandfather places a flower lei atop a stone monument. It is only after his grandfather’s sudden death that Kimo learns the story behind their annual visit and the reason for the sadness that has haunted his grandfather throughout the years. Evocative writing brings this tragic event from Hawaiian history to present-day reality for young readers today.
Why I liked this: The title alone caught my eye and I was interested in how a topic such as a Tsunami could be covered in a PB. The story is beautifully written, both factual and moving. There are many aspects to this story that I love, the relationship between the young boy and his grandfather, the faithful remembrance of a lost love one, how a tragic event could affect so many people and the effect it has on them years later. An Author’s Note in the back of the book discusses the phenomena of tsunamis. Former schoolteacher Tony Fredericks is an award-winning author of many nature and animal books for children. A frequent presenter at schools and conferences across America, Tony teaches education courses at York College in York, Pennsylvania. Tammy Yee’s soft watercolour tones add to the story’s serious theme yet create a sense of calm that reflects the calm before and after the storm, she lives in Hawaii.
Resources/Findings: The Author’s Note at the end of the book a helpful tool for teaching words and concepts related to a tsunami. This book is useful for discussion in class of relationships between grandparents and grandchildren, also discussion about loss of a love one and how It also celebrates life and how life continues with special memories kept alive to honour those who die.
A teacher’s guide is found here to compliment this story…. http://www.gale.cengage.com/pdf/TeachersGuides/tsunami.pdf
Other books on the topic of Tsunamis, (one is unaware of how many books cover this tragic even until you search.) …. http://www.tsunami.org/storebooks.html
For more books with resources please head on over and visit the lovely author Susanna Leonard Hill’s blog and find the tab for Perfect Picture Books. Her blog is full of resources links and activities associated with the books reviewed by many authors