Librarian Recommended English Books for Children. Read Aloud Videos.

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Librarian Recommended Children’s English Books - Read Aloud Videos - The Sakura Medal

Go - Kazuki Kaneshiro

As a Korean student in a Japanese high school, Sugihara has had to defend himself against all kinds of bullies. But nothing could have prepared him for the heartache he feels when he falls hopelessly in love with a Japanese girl named Sakurai. Immersed in their shared love for classical music and foreign movies, the two gradually grow closer and closer.

One night, after being hit by personal tragedy, Sugihara reveals to Sakurai that he is not Japanese—as his name might indicate.

Torn between a chance at self-discovery that he’s ready to seize and the prejudices of others that he can’t control, Sugihara must decide who he wants to be and where he wants to go next. Will Sakurai be able to confront her own bias and accompany him on his journey?
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Sakura's Cherry Blossoms - Robert Paul Weston

Sakura's dad gets a new job in America, so she and her parents make the move from their home in Japan. When she arrives in the States, most of all she misses her grandmother and the cherry blossom trees, under which she and her grandmother used to play and picnic. She wonders how she'll ever feel at home in this new place, with its unfamiliar language and landscape. One day, she meets her neighbor, a boy named Luke, and begins to feel a little more settled. When her grandmother becomes ill, though, her family takes a trip back to Japan. Sakura is sad when she returns to the States and once again reflects on all she misses. Luke does his best to cheer her up -- and tells her about a surprise he knows she'll love, but she'll have to wait till spring. In the meantime, Sakura and Luke's friendship blooms and finally, when spring comes, Luke takes her to see the cherry blossom trees flowering right there in her new neighborhood.

Sakura's Cherry Blossoms captures the beauty of the healing power of friendship through Weston's Japanese poetry-inspired text and Saburi's breathtaking illustrations.
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Natsumi! - Susan Lendroth

Natsumi is small but full of big exuberance, and puts her girl-power to good use when she discovers a Japanese tradition as energetic as she is.

When Natsumi's family practices for their town's Japanese arts festival, Natsumi tries everything. But her stirring is way too vigorous for the tea ceremony, her dancing is just too imaginative, and flower arranging doesn't go any better. Can she find just the right way to put her exuberance to good use?

This heartwarming tale about being true to yourself is perfect for readers who march to their own beat.
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Home Sweet Home - Mia Cassany

Kids will have their imaginations captured by this beautiful, non-fiction picture book that looks at home from around the world. Home from Home celebrates the wide diversity of living quarters people around the world live in.

Find out who lives in a Brooklyn brownstone or a Tokyo apartment! What about a London townhouse, or a cabin in Reykjavik?

Up and coming talent Paula Blumen illustrates all of these great views of home. There’s never been a better time to remember the importance of home for everyone.
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Erased Vol. 1 - Kei Sanbe

Twenty-nine-year-old Satoru Fujinuma is floundering through life. Amid his daily drudgery, he finds himself in the grip of an incredible, inexplicable, and uncontrollable phenomenon that rewinds time, a condition that seems to only make his drab life worse. But then, one day, everything changes. A terrible incident forever changes Satoru's life as he knows it...and with it, comes a 'Revival' that sends Satoru eighteen years into the past! In the body of his boyhood self, Satoru encounters sights he never imagined he would see again--the smile of his mother, alive and well, his old friends, and Kayo Hinazuki, the girl who was kidnapped and murdered when he was a boy the first time around. To return to the present and prevent the tragedy that brought him back to his childhood in the first place, Satoru begins plotting a way to change Hinazuki's fate...But up against the clock and a faceless evil, does eleven-year-old Satoru even stand a chance?
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The Traveling Cat Chronicles - Hiro Arikawa

The tender feelgood story of a man's journey around Japan with a streetcat. Translated by Philip Gabriel, a translator of Murakami.

It's not the journey that counts but who's at your side.

Nana is on a road trip, but he is not sure where he is going. All that matters is that he can sit beside his beloved owner, Satoru, in the front seat of his silver van. Satoru is keen to visit three old friends from his youth, though Nana doesn’t know why, and Satoru won’t say.

Set against the backdrop of Japan’s changing seasons and narrated with a rare gentleness and humour, Nana’s story explores the wonder and thrill of life’s unexpected detours. It is about the value of friendship and solitude, and knowing when to give and when to take. The Travelling Cat Chronicles has already demonstrated its power to move thousands with a message of kindness and truth. It shows, above all, how acts of love, both great and small, can transform our lives.
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Reader Levels and Interests

Read Aloud Videos - Mr. Tim from The Magic Crayons reading his favourite books for your child or class
Chapter Book - A story book intended for intermediate readers, generally age 7-10
Early Reader - The first books that children will be able to read independently
Graphic Novels - A novel in comic-strip format. Synonyms: comic, comic book, cartoon; manga
Picture Books - A book containing many illustrations, especially one for children
Realistic Fiction -
High School - For readers of that age
Middle School - For readers of that age
Read Aloud Books - Great to a large class. ESL / EFL Dispatch Teacher Essentials
Jolly Phonics - Highly recommended for those learning to read

The Sakura Medal Book Awards

Sakura Medal Winners

2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
2019
2020
2021

Sakura Medal Nominees

2018
2019
2020
2021

Setting

Cuba
• France
Germany
India
Japan
Korea
• Mexico
UK

How to Read Books Aloud

• Ensure all students / your children can see the book
• Allow students to settle before you begin reading. Turn of nearby computers or TVs to avoid distractions
• Allow time for students to absorb the illustrations on each page before reading the text
• Different voices for each character are engaging for students and fun for you if you are reading the story multiple times - if you can keep track of voices of the characters
• Inform your audience of the author and illustrator so they may ask for the story again and foster an interest in writers and drawing
• Take your time
• There is no need to be shy. Children will delight in listening to you

How often should you read with your child?
• Everyday
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