Tragedy can strike anytime, and it can be a challenge to know how to talk to kids about it. Fred Rogers once said ""When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping."
Tsunami by Kimiko Kajikawa not only shows the helpers, trust, and community coming together, it also shows respect, love, and how to give for others.
A couple of notes, this is a retelling of an Asian legend, and does talk about the people worship their gods in temples. It is not promoting any particular religion, just talking about the context of the people.
Second, the first time I tried to read this to my kids they said it was too scary, so we waited 6 months and tried again and they enjoyed it. So use your discretion about how much your children will be able to understand.
Book for Children Ages: 4 years old and older
Family Reading Time: This is a good book for family reading time as it deals with things that even your older children may be concerned about even if they don't say so. A great book to open discussion and help your children work through their fears.
- Follow your children's lead on this book. If they seem overwhelmed or scared stop and talk about it. Make sure they have space to ask questions. Ask them how they are feeling.
Related Discussion Questions:
- What should we do if there was a _________ (fill in the blank based on your area, such as fire, earthquake, tornado)?
- How can we help other people when they are in trouble?
- Why do you think Ojisan burned his fields?
- Why was his grandson scared?
- How did his grandson feel when he saw that Ojisan saved the village?
- Are you ever scared? What makes you scared?
Activities for Kids:
- Tear pieces of different colors and textures of paper. Glue them to paper to make your own picture.
- Find a way to be a helper. If there have been tragedies in the news or your local area, see what you can do to help. Help your child write a letter to someone affected, volunteer, or something else to help.
- Visit your local fire station or police station so your child can meet rescue personell, ask questions, and learn more about what these helpers do for their jobs.
Cultural Diversity: This book is set in pre-modern Asia and is a retelling of a traditional tale.
Children's Book Review Rating: 5 Stars - Beautiful Book