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Summary: Erika enjoys looking at the picture of a cottage with lighted windows at her grandmother's house. When she learns that her grandfather bought it in Japan, she decides she wants to learn all she can about Japan. She studies Japanese in college and even goes to Japan by herself. She arrives in a big city, moves to smaller city, and ultimately settles in a small town. She moves in with a local family and teaches school. In the end, she lives in a house just like the one in the picture on her Grandmother's wall. This is a chapter book for transitional readers.
Type of Reading: bedtime story, family reading, anytime reading, independent reading, read aloud book, illustrated chapter
Recommended Age: read together: 5 to 9; read yourself: 9 to 12
Interest Level: 6 to 10
Reading Level: 3.3
Age of Child: Read with 5-year-old girl
Young Reader Reaction: My daughter loved this books, especially the pictures. She noticed how Erika's appearance changes during the story, and how her life changed. She liked the tea dress and how Erika learned all she could so she could serve tea the proper way. She had me stop and explain to her about having tea. She learned about Japan, having tea, and how that even when you are bigger you can enjoy things you liked when you were a child.
Adult Reader Reaction: I enjoyed this book a lot! The pictures were beautiful and enhanced the story. The story itself flowed well and made you want to keep reading to see where this Erika was going to end up. It held my interest the whole book even until the last page. I had picked this book, and I was hoping my daughter would like it. I was very happy when she had me read it to her again.
Pros: Beautiful illustrations and a good story introduce children to Japan, Japanese culture, and following your heart.
Borrow or Buy: Borrow, at least. This is a beautiful book.
Educational Themes: This book offers a positive view of Japan. There is a lot of information about Japan and Japanese culture, but it is also about a person. The story allows you to talk about memories, growing up, following your dreams, etc.
Literary Categories: Fiction - easy reader, multicultural, family