Review: Sora and the Cloud

29 Feb

I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely someone who revels in buying crisp stationery and penning a pretty letter to a family member, or a thank you note to a friend. For me, the texture of the paper, the way the ink flows, the grip of the pen in my hand–I take all of this into consideration when selecting the proper writing tools.

Pencil box, pretty stationery, Miffy pen ~ I’m all set!

So, naturally,  I was drawn to the beautiful images and text in Felicia Hoshino’s gorgeous watercolor and mixed media bilingual English/Japanese picture book, Sora and the Cloud, published in January by Immedium.

Sora and the Cloud by Felicia Hoshino. Japanese trans. by Akiko Hisa

Released: January 2012

Publisher: Immedium

Level: PreK-2

Using a light, soothing color palette filled with sea green, cream, and peach, Hoshino takes readers on a whimsical journey through the streets (and skies) of San Francisco. Sora is an adventurous little Japanese-American boy who loves climbing all over everything (even his parents!). One day he discovers a tree and keeps climbing higher and higher until he encounters a napping cloud resting in the leaves. Cloud is delicately illustrated as a simple puff with expressive eyes, a gentle smile, and two blushes (!) of color infusing its cheeks. Of course, Sora mistakes Cloud for a piece of cotton candy and is about to take a bite, when off they float, drifting over such familiar landmarks as Chinatown and the Golden Gate Bridge. Soaring above the city, Sora and his new friend encounter a wide array of fantastic sights, including a bustling amusement park and a traditional Japanese festival of kites.

In her author’s note, Hoshino explained that she wanted to write a book she could enjoy with her children in English (her native language) and Japanese (her husband’s native language). A helpful glossary defines the Japanese expressive dialogue sprinkled throughout the book (separate from the Japanese translations appearing below the English text), as well as the cultural inspirations behind Sora’s adventures. Other charming details include the depiction of Sora’s grandparents in the beginning of the book (a nod to the reverence of older generations, common in East/South Asian cultures) and mei tai babywearing (I especially picked up on this because I used to wear my kids in slings when they were teeny!) Sora and the Cloud is a lovely celebration of Japanese-American culture, and reminds us that keeping traditions alive is an important part of who we are.

Because I know you’ll love this book as much as I did (yes, you will!), I wanted to give you some information my good friend, Allison, from Reading Everywhere shared with me the other day: Felicia Hoshino specializes in watercolor portraits of children. Visit her lovely website here:http://www.felishino.com, so you can own a piece of personalized artwork. 😉

Copy checked out from my library.

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3 Responses to “Review: Sora and the Cloud”

  1. Nirmala March 1, 2012 at 4:02 am #

    This book sounds lovely and whimsical, and I like the San Francisco references. I’ll check it out. 🙂

  2. Allison March 1, 2012 at 9:12 pm #

    Such a lovely book- I really love that it reflects a uniquely Japanese-American identity (not just American, not just Japanese). I loved reading your thoughts, and thanks for the shout-out!

  3. lali28 March 2, 2012 at 3:05 am #

    @Nirmala Yes, it’s an exquisite book. Definitely check it out–I’m sure SFPL has it. She’s also doing author events in your neck of the woods.

    @Allison – That’s what I love about it–it incorporates both cultures in a seamless and unique way. And of course, I love San Francisco so that’s an added bonus.

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