Thursday, June 16, 2011

Japanese poem video

The International Youth Library (IYL), the world's largest library of international books for children and young adults, compiles an annual list of best children's books from around the world called the White Ravens list.The 2011 list includes 250 titles in 30 languages from 40 countries. Of these, I found 14 poetry titles-- from 12 different countries. I took pictures of each of the books and found volunteers to read selections from 7 of them for a short video. Here is a poetry book from Japan on the 2011 White Ravens list.

Tanikawa, Shuntarō (text)

Motonaga, Sadamasa (illus.)

Kokoro no hikari (Light of the heart)

Tōkyō [et al.]: Bunken Shuppan, 2010. – [32] p.

(Series: Poppo raiburari: Miru miru ehon)

ISBN 978-4-580-82102-6

Heart – Soul – Emotion

The poet Tanikawa and the avant-garde artist Motonaga created the book “Moko mokomoko” (Metamorphosis of things) in 1976, and since then it has enjoyed success with readers, even its youngest ones. In the same vein, but this time without onomatopoetic words, they apply concise, verse-like texts to showcase individual positive emotions and moods that may arise in a human being at a particular time. They call it the Light of the Heart. That which is invisible is visualized using abstract images created by means of an airbrush technique, and is made perceptible through the use of finely wrought words. The heart is a universe. The breath-taking originality of this picture book is also due to the collaboration of Etsuko Nakatsuji, award winner at the Biennial Illustration Bratislava, for its layout and design. (Age: 6+)

Here is my friend and colleague, Junko Yokota, reading a selection from this book. She a professor of children's literature at National-Louis University in Illinois, an expert on international children's literature, and Director of the Center for Teaching through Children's Books there.

And here is Junko's translation of the poet's explanation of that poem:

Image credit: SV;IYL

Posting (not poem) by Sylvia M. Vardell © 2011. All rights reserved.


Kristine said...

This series is fascinating! Thank you, Sylvia, for taking time to bring us poetry from around the world.

Janet Wong said...

Funny, the very same word popped into my mind: fascinating! (I guess Kristine and I were having a mind-meld moment.) Thank you, Sylvia and Junko!

Cathy said...

So funny, I just posted a link on Twitter calling this series "fascinating". I thought I should come back to comment and saw that others thought it was "fascinating". I have often wondered about picture books around the world, but have had little luck finding answers to my questions. These posts have helped me to learn more about the books children around the world enjoy. The videos are enjoyable! Thanks, Sylvia, for these delightful posts.

Sylvia Vardell said...

Thank you, all, for your FASCINATING comments! I'm so glad you're enjoying my little global video series. I had so much fun doing this. It's such an "ear-opener" to experience poetry in all these different books and languages.

NOTE: See how Junko is reading what looks like the LAST poem in the book-- but it's the FIRST poem in the book. Since the book is in Japanese, the book moves right to left-- another fun thing for kids to observe.

HATBOOKS Author Holly Thompson said...

Thank you for featuring this book of Japanese poetry...lovely to hear Junko's reading in Japanese.