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published: Oct 2019
ISBN:9781459825185

The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden Read-Along

by Heather Smith, illustrated by Rachel Wada, read by Kelly Nakatsuka

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non-classifiable, asia, emotions & feelings
0 of 5
0 ratings
rated!
rated!
list price: $9.99
edition:eBook
published: Oct 2019
ISBN:9781459825185
Description

When the tsunami destroyed Makio's village, Makio lost his father . . . and his voice. The entire village is silenced by grief, and the young child's anger at the ocean grows. Then one day his neighbor, Mr. Hirota, begins a mysterious project—building a phone booth in his garden. At first Makio is puzzled; the phone isn't connected to anything. It just sits there, unable to ring. But as more and more villagers are drawn to the phone booth, its purpose becomes clear to Makio: the disconnected phone is connecting people to their lost loved ones. Makio calls to the sea to return what it has taken from him and ultimately finds his voice and solace in a phone that carries words on the wind.
The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden is inspired by the true story of the wind phone in Otsuchi, Japan, which was created by artist Itaru Sasaki. He built the phone booth so he could speak to his cousin who had passed, saying, "My thoughts couldn't be relayed over a regular phone line, I wanted them to be carried on the wind." The Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in 2011 destroyed the town of Otsuchi, claiming 10 percent of the population. Residents of Otsuchi and pilgrims from other affected communities have been traveling to the wind phone since the tsunami.

About the Authors

Heather Smith

Author profile page >

Rachel Wada was raised between Japan and Hong Kong and is currently based in Vancouver, British Columbia. She has created illustrations for magazines, newspapers, advertising, and even a mural. Her first children's book project, The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden, was recognized with the Freeman Award for Children's Literature. Her second children's book, From The Tops Of The Trees, is expected to be published in the fall of 2021. Visually, Rachel's works are characterized by the use of rich colours, textures, and fine details through both digital and traditional mediums.
Author profile page >

Kelly Nakatsuka is a former CBC broadcaster and journalist who spends his time these days as a father, husband, concert promoter and counseling therapist in Victoria, British Columbia. Kelly loves living and working on the West Coast and is honored and humbled to call the unceded Traditional Territories of the Lekwungen- and Hul’qumi’num-speaking Peoples his home.

Author profile page >
Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels
Age:
6 to 8
Grade:
1 to 3
Reading age:
6 to 8
Editorial Reviews

? “An affecting, well-rendered resource for talking about catastrophes and grief both personal and communal.”

— Publisher Weekly, starred review

“A moving concept, and the book might open discussion about ways to deal with death and loss.”

— The Bulletin for the Center for Children's Books

“Text and illustration come together to make this a memorable story of love, loss, and despair tinged with the hope that comes when healing can finally begin...This book has a wide range of appeal and will fit into many curriculum areas. Highly Recommended.”

— School Library Connection

? “Smith spins a quietly moving narrative...Wada’s large-scale woodblock style illustrations are a perfect complement to the story’s restrained text...The graceful way in which this book handles a sensitive and serious subject makes it a first purchase for most picture book collections.”

— School Library Journal, starred review

? “A moving tale...offers comfort and peace to those left behind.”

— Booklist, starred review

? “A beautifully rendered tale of loss, love, grief, and gentle healing.”

— Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Touching tale of loss and resilience.”

— Hakai Magazine

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