Tomo: Friendship through Fiction: An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories

Overview

"A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal" - Kirkus Reviews

"Offers a unique and wide-ranging taste of Japanese life" - Booklist

"The collection is extremely varied, featuring urban and rural settings, contemporary situations and timeless folk tales, humor, and adventure... Numerous stories involve mixed-race parents and children, affording good insights into cultural assimilation. Tomo is an excellent story collection, ...

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Tomo: Friendship through Fiction: An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories

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Overview

"A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal" - Kirkus Reviews

"Offers a unique and wide-ranging taste of Japanese life" - Booklist

"The collection is extremely varied, featuring urban and rural settings, contemporary situations and timeless folk tales, humor, and adventure... Numerous stories involve mixed-race parents and children, affording good insights into cultural assimilation. Tomo is an excellent story collection, presenting a rich and varied immersion in Japanese culture from a teen perspective." - VOYA

"Published on the one-year anniversary of the Japanese tsunami and earthquake, this collection of short stories and poems about Japanese teens is weird and wonderful, studded with the unique color of Japanese teen pop culture, as well as the impact of defining events from the twenty-first century to the present: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster." - Barnes & Noble Review

"Thirty-six stories by writers somehow connected to Japan, five contributors with ties to Tohoku — each piece concisely aligns the disparate puzzle of the teenage map...Tomo reverberates with the authentic voice of Japanese and bicultural teens as they face down the confusing adult world before and after 3/11." - The Japan Times

"From Pasmo travel cards to Harajuku girls to face-offs between a Kendo club and a dance group at the school gym, Japan is placed vividly in the reader’s heart and mind. And that heart would have to be made of the proverbial stone not to feel for the people affected by the earthquake. But Tomo inspires more than sympathy—it ignites us to empathy." - The Asian Review of Books

"The thirty-six stories of Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction—An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories cover a wide range of genres (prose, verse, graphic narratives) and feature nine stories translated from the Japanese...most of the authors, many of whom write for adults, will be new to American teens." - The Horn Book

This aptly named fiction anthology—tomo means “friend” in Japanese—is a true labor of friendship to benefit teens in Japan whose lives were upended by the violent earthquake and tsunami of March 11, 2011. Authors from Japan and around the world have contributed works of fiction set in or related to Japan. Young adult English-language readers will be able to connect with their Japanese counterparts through stories of contemporary Japanese teens, ninja and yokai teens, folklore teens, mixed-heritage teens, and non-Japanese teens who call Japan home. Tales of friendship, mystery, love, ghosts, magic, science fiction, and history will propel readers to Japan past and present and to Japanese universes abroad.

Portions of the proceeds of Tomo will be donated to the Japanese non-profit, HOPE FOR TOMORROW, to support ongoing relief efforts for teens in Japan.

Edited and with a foreword by Holly Thompson, Tomo contributing authors include Naoko Awa, Deni Bechard, Jennifer Fumiko Cahill, Liza Dalby, Megumi Fujino, Andrew Fukuda, Alan Gratz, Katrina Toshiko Grigg-Saito, Suzanne Kamata, Sachiko Kashiwaba, Kelly Luce, Shogo Oketani and Leza Lowitz, Ryusuke Saito, Graham Salisbury, Fumio Takano, and Wendy Tokunaga, among others.

Holly Thompson is a longtime writing teacher and resident of Japan and author of the young adult verse novel Orchards, which won the 2012 Asian/Pacific American Librarians Association Award for Young Adult Literature . She serves as the regional advisor for the Tokyo chapter of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"These stories truly surprised me with their depth, literary quality, and heart. I loved them all!" - Debbi Michiko Florence, author of Japan: A Kaleidoscope Kids Book

"As the winds blow through the tales and understanding blossoms in the lives of teenage protagonists, a real live vision of hope, peace and renewal is formed which brings a full circle to the meaning of 'Friend'...In this ripe time for healing just before the one year anniversary of 3/11/2011, make a new friend - the book called Tomo." - Japan Visitor

"There is plenty for adults to enjoy here, too." - JQ Magazine

VOYA - Walter Hogan
Tomo (Japanese for "friend") includes three dozen works of short fiction for teens, each by a different author living in, or connected by experience, to Japan. Several verse narratives and two graphic stories accompany thirty prose stories of approximately ten pages each. Only a few of the contributions were previously published. Each concerns the Japanese experience, although some are set in Hawaii and North America. The editor provides a general introduction, glossary of Japanese terms, and brief biographies on the authors and translators. Ten of the stories were translated from Japanese, and the rest are English originals. Editor Holly Thompson, a long-time resident of Japan, conceived the collection as a way to support teen survivors of the March 2011 tsunami, and proceeds will be donated to the recovery. Many of the stories celebrate the intensity and resilience of adolescence, sometimes amid historical calamities ranging from earthquakes to World War II internment of Japanese-Americans to the recent tsunami. The collection is extremely varied, featuring urban and rural settings, contemporary situations and timeless folk tales, humor, and adventure. Among seven thematic groups of about five stories each, "Shocks and Tremors" contains the most explicit references to natural disasters. The "Ghosts and Spirits," "Powers and Feats, and "Talents and Curses" sections include a rich variety of supernatural tales, among them several urban fantasies. Numerous stories involve mixed-race parents and children, affording good insights into cultural assimilation. Tomo is an excellent story collection, presenting a rich and varied immersion in Japanese culture from a teen perspective. Reviewer: Walter Hogan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—The title of this anthology, meaning "friend" in Japanese, is apt. The collection was conceived to benefit young people in the areas affected by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, and, in turn, the stories encourage an awareness and appreciation of Japanese culture among English-speaking teens. As with most anthologies, the quality of the selections varies, but the eclectic mix of genres ensures that there is something for most readers. Stories range from contemporary to historical to fantasy and horror, providing a well-rounded glimpse into Japanese culture. Two particularly engaging stories are told in graphic-novel format, and another tale gracefully unfolds in choka, a type of traditional verse. Most stories do not reference the 2011 disaster, but several address other hardships such as war or internment. Some are lighthearted. The one thing they have in common is that they are set in Japan or are about people of Japanese descent, often bicultural, and all feature elements that are uniquely Japanese. Most stories require some degree of familiarity with the country. Cultural references go largely unexplained, and Japanophiles will appreciate casual mentions of things that are common knowledge, like the Yamanote line, idol singers, and Ghibli. However, there is a sense of universality, too. The youth in these stories have the same hopes and concerns shared by teens all over the world. They play baseball, have crushes, and get bullied. A solid addition to any YA fiction collection, especially where anime and manga circulate well.—Allison Tran, Mission Viejo Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews
A big but consistently engaging pro bono anthology of authors with direct or indirect Japanese "heritage or experience." The 36 tales (all but six of which are new) were gathered as contributions to the relief effort for victims of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. They feature Japanese--or, frequently, haafu, half-Japanese--teenagers engaged in the business of growing up. Two stories are set in the past: a Pearl Harbor episode from Graham Salisbury and Mariko Nagai's probing free-verse view of the prejudice and internment faced by Japanese Americans shortly thereafter. Otherwise nearly all of the stories have contemporary settings. Only one story refers directly to the 2011 disaster; in the rest, situations and experiences blend familiar tropes with some that may be new to U.S. audiences. Some concern making or missing friends and coping with bullies or demanding parents. Others find their characters reading absorbing cellphone mini-novels on a long commute to school or finding common ground through dance and kendo as well as baseball. Fantasy also makes a strong showing in tales of dragons and eerie samurai dolls, a supernatural Lost Property Office, a magic toaster that predicts the manner of one's death and more. The closing capsule bios will be particularly helpful to young readers on this side of the Pacific. A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal, with nary a clinker in the bunch. (glossary) (Short stories. 11-13)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781611720068
  • Publisher: Stone Bridge Press
  • Publication date: 3/6/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 1,344,379
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Holly Thompson (www.hatbooks.com) is a longtime resident of Japan and author of the young adult verse novel Orchards (Delacorte/Random House, 2011), which was nominated for a 2012 YALSA/ALA Best Fiction for Young Adults award. She is also the author of the picture book The Wakame Gatherers (Shen’s Books, 2007) and the novel Ash (Stone Bridge Press, 2001). She is a regular contributor to the Double Take column of All Nippon Airway’s Wingspan magazine, and serves as Regional Advisor for the Tokyo chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She has taught creative and academic writing at Yokohama City University for many years and often gives presentations on writing craft. Visit her Hatbooks blog (http://hatbooks.blogspot.com) on writing, teaching, living and learning, mostly in Japan.

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