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Honda: The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars

Honda: The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars

by Mark Weston, Katie Yamasaki (Illustrator)

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The life story of Soichiro Honda, pioneering Japanese businessman and innovative motorcycle and car manufacturer.


The life story of Soichiro Honda, pioneering Japanese businessman and innovative motorcycle and car manufacturer.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Briana Devaser
Mark Weston's book is a biography of Soichiro Honda, the inventor of Honda vehicles and founder of Honda Motor Company. The story follows Soichiro from his birth to his death, first exploring his early interest in boats, and then documenting his first exposure to an automotive vehicle. Weston explains how Soichiro's determination and innovation led to the success of Honda Motor Company. This book puts a face behind Honda cars by telling Soichiro's story and highlighting some of his exemplary, atypical business practices, such as listening to his workers' ideas even though he was the boss. The illustrations help readers to delve into Soichiro's imagination. One illustration shows him holding piston rings while the background depicts images of him standing on piston rings in the clouds, illustrating the progression of his thought process. Yamasaki's illustrations allow readers to become engaged and visualize the contemplations of an inventor. Reviewer: Briana Devaser
School Library Journal

Gr 3-5

This picture-book biography follows the life of Soichiro Honda, born in 1906, from his beginnings as a boy working in his father's smith shop to his international success as a manufacturer. Weston's writing is clear and accessible, even to those who might not know any automotive lingo. The book reads like a story, with fictionalization of Honda's thoughts and dialogue and emphasis on his persistence and ingenuity. Yamasaki's acrylic illustrations dominate each page. At first glance they seem representational, but on closer inspection readers will find little men climbing on the engine parts and pieces of machinery swirling up into the air like dust, miniature cars going around a globe and down Honda's arm, and figures on tiny motorcycles on mountains as a backdrop to modern, colorfully clad men and women riding on the road. Yamasaki's creative composition makes the pictures interesting and dynamic. There has been very little published about Honda for children. This story takes a step toward filling that gap.-Donna Cardon, Provo City Library, UT

Kirkus Reviews
Soichiro Honda was, in his own way, the Henry Ford of Japan. He became fascinated by automobiles from his very first sight of a Model T. Determined to learn everything possible about cars, he began as a cleaner in a garage and eventually became an expert mechanic with his own business. Later he designed racecars and manufactured car parts and airplane propellers. After World War II, he developed small motorcycles and started the Honda Motor Company, constantly adding improvements and innovations to his products and then designing and manufacturing fuel-efficient automobiles. Weston presents Honda as a perfectionist, an innovator in his field and a model corporate leader, who encouraged his workers, listened to them and treated them well. However, with the exception of a list of retirement activities, Honda's life beyond business is nowhere to be found. Yamasaki's detailed and whimsical acrylics add zest to the proceedings. A worthwhile introduction to a neglected subject. (author's sources, afterword) (Picture book/biography. 7-12)

Product Details

Lee & Low Books, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.00(w) x (h) x 1.00(d)
AD870L (what's this?)
Age Range:
8 Years

Meet the Author

MARK WESTON's inspiration for this children's book about Soichiro Honda came from the extensive research he did several years ago for his highly-praised adult book, Giants of Japan: The Lives of Japan's Greatest Men and Women. A former attorney, journalist, and Jeopardy! contestant, Weston is now a full-time writer. He lives in Armonk, New York.

KATIE YAMASAKI is an illustrator, muralist, fine artist, and teaching artist in the New York City public schools. Growing up among the "car culture" of Detroit, Yamasaki had an immediate connection to this story, although she had much to learn about motorcycles and cars. To research this book, she also traveled to Japan to visit Honda's hometown, Honda factories and corporate headquarters, and other places important in his life. In 2007 Yamasaki visited Cuba for a solo exhibition of her paintings and to foster visual and written dialogue among American and Cuban youth. She lives in Brooklyn, New York. This is her first book.

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