|Words to make a friend : a story in Japanese and English|
Author: Napoli, Donna Jo
When a young Japanese girl moves into her new house, she is happy to see a girl her age playing in the snow just outside her window. The only problem is the Japanese girl doesn't speak English and the American girl doesn't speak Japanese. But each girl's love of the snow teaches them that they don't need to speak the same language to have fun!
Kirkus Reviews (10/15/21)
School Library Journal (12/01/21)
The Hornbook (00/01/22)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 10/01/2021 There are lots of picture books about the challenges of moving to a new place, but this one impressively gets to the heart of the experience with very few words. A little Japanese girl moves to a new house and spots her new neighbor playing outside in the snow. She bundles up and heads out to meet the girl, and as they build a snow creature, they exchange words, each in their own language, and bond in the wondrous snowy setting. Their common interests help them bridge the language divide, and soon, they're peas in a pod, having a blast. Napoli manages to tell the story only in the girls' exchange of words in speech balloons, and Stoop's soft, pleasant artwork expands on those words, helping young readers grasp the concept in both English and Japanese. This sweet read about finding a sense of belonging in a new place emphasizes openhearted friendship and how learning and teaching a language can build connection. A great choice for group storytimes or one-on-one reading. - Copyright 2021 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 12/01/2021 PreS-Gr 1—This deceptively simple book celebrates communication and friendship through luminously detailed illustrations and a sparse bilingual text. A little girl (presumably Japanese) and her mother move into a new home during a snowstorm. As the little girl unpacks, she sees the neighbor girl outside playing. She puts on her coat and boots, and heads outside. "Konichiwa," she says. "Hello" the girl responds. The two play together outside, each communicating in simple words of their own language, finally heading inside for origami and snacks, ending with their sharing of the universal language of laughter. The text consists entirely of one to two words in each word bubble, symmetrically, first one girl and then the other. The illustrations tell the rest of the story here. Mixed-media illustrations, created on plywood and finished digitally, depict a beautiful snowy scene. Stoop strategically allows the texture of the wood to show through. The neighbor has darker skin and brown curly hair, while the protagonist has straight black hair framing her paler face. The girls are painted simply, in a style reminiscent of the work of Ezra Jack Keats, with oval eyes, rosy cheeks, and colorful clothes. VERDICT The story is universal, celebrating diversity and friendship despite differences. A lovely book.—Amy Lilien-Harper, Wilton Lib., CT - Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.