Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Book Review: J-Boys by Author Shogo Oketani

J-Boys

Author: Shogo Oketani

Publisher: Stone Bridge Press

ISBN: 978-1-933330-92-1

Middle grade readers ages 8-12

From the Media Release: It is the mid-1060's just after the Japan Olympics and nine-year old Kazuo dreams of being a track star. This is a bittersweet novel depicting a year in the life of a boy with dreams, universal concerns about fitting in and escaping the past ( in this case World War II and the lingering devastation) and growing up.

My view: This is a wonderful story of the life of a boy with the same dreams as young boys today though it is from years past. Today's youth have the same dreams, goals, worries about fitting in, and a different war with it's consequences. The story is fascinating as it gives readers a view of what life in the post war era was like and how it parallels today's world. It is a collection of short stories that are linked together by the characters.  Children will find the text easy to read, captivating, and interesting as it tells of economic growth, weaves Japanese history with American pop culture, and is all around entertaining.

I highly recommend the book. It would make a good book to work on as a class project because it brings so many parts of history to light which could lead to great discussions about cultural diversity and sameness. I like it because it appeals to boys and reluctant readers. Kudos to the author.

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