Title: I Survived The Japanese TsunamiI Survived - The Japanese Tsunami, 2011
Author: Lauren Tarshis
Illustrator: Scott Dawson
Pages: 106
Reading Level: 7-10
Star Rating: ★★★

From the I Survived series.

The Story.

Ben Kudo doesn’t want to go to Japan. He had so looked forward to the trip when his father first planned it – but then his father died. Now every moment that he spends in Japan is a giant reminder of how life should be, and how horribly empty it actually is.

And then, early one morning, an earthquake shakes the house where Ben, his brother and mother are staying. They are thrown from their beds and hurled to the floor. Within minutes a tsunami has pounded the village and Ben has been separated from his family.

Will Ben and his family members survive? And will they find their way back together again?

Discussion.

It’s easy to think to important historical events as things that happened in the 1940s or 1770s or 1500s. It’s always fascinatingto me to remember that the “big deals” of today – 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, etc., will someday form the ranks of those ‘historical’ events. And it’s even more interesting to read stories that have been written about them.

In this story, Ben Kudo survives the huge Tsunami which pounded Japan in 2011. He experiences first hand its terrors, and responds manfully to them. Ben is a boy who has been grieving the loss of his father for several months. Although he grieves for his father, he also attempts to shut out the memory of him – thinking about what once was is too painful. But when his little brother, Harry’s, life is in danger, Ben steps up to the plate and digs into the recesses of his mind to remember the advice his father gave him on how to act in an emergency. This instruction saves Ben and Harry’s lives.

Harry is an interesting little chap. He has something like an obsession with Star Wars and likes to think of himself (and his cat, Nya) as Jedi warriors. Harry climbs up into a cherry tree to make a wish (his father had told him that wishes made from the top of a cherry tree would come true) and falls out of it necessitating several stitches on his arm. He is inclined to whimper, until his family assures him that Darth Vader had a scar on his arm.

Conclusion. Not the most settled account.

Review © 2015 Laura Verret

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