Spunky Japanese-American Heroine

Today I have an early chapter book with a spunky Japanese-American heroine.  She will absolutely appeal to kids who have a sense of adventure or who don’t want to be held back from doing the fun stuff.  I mean age is really just a number after all.

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Title: Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queenspunky japanese-american heroine jasmine toguchi

Author: Debbi Michiko Florence

Target: Grads 1-3

Series: Yes

What this book is about:

Jasmine is eight and so excited about her Japanese family’s New Years celebration. However you have to be ten to help the women roll out the mochi, a gooey rice desert, and her sister Sophie just turned ten. That means Jasmine will have to babysit her younger cousins alone while Sophie gets to help the adults. Jasmine is having nothing of it and decides that not only is she ready to help, but she wants to participate in the traditional men’s job of beating the rice. While a girl has never done this task before, her parents are willing to give her a chance, but she needs muscles and not just will to get the job done.

Why I love this book:

  • We have such a large Asian population in California that it was a lot of fun for me to see into the Japanese tradition of not only making mochi but the cultural family dynamics in the story. Our recent trip to Japan only confirmed how spot on this story was.
  • I really liked the family interactions, especially between the sisters. Jasmine is all about wanting to strike out on her own, away from Sophie’s shadow. Sophie is bossy and and older but in the end she will always look out for her little sister.

Who this book is for:

This is a great book for kids who have moved to chapter books but aren’t ready for middle grade fiction. There are pictures scattered throughout, although not on every page. Jasmine will appeal to the sensibilities of a 6-8 year old.

Final thoughts:

A recipe for mochi is in the back of the book. I would have loved to try it but we don’t, oddly enough, have a microwave!

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.