Bibliography: Yumoto, Kazumi (1992). The Friends. Farrar Straus Giroux.
Grade Level: Elementary Level- Grades 4-7th
Looking at the front cover of the novel, three young Asian boys hiding behind bushes, with a soccer ball. They are staring at a house in bright daylight. In big, brown, bold letter, at the top of the book is titled The Friends. What I inferred from the cover is just a book about kids being kids and just messing around, and never to my surprise did I realize that the subject of the book would be about death. It was nice to read that the younger children were learning, and becoming friends with the old man, and vise versa. This book simplifies the relationship between life and death, between the children and the older man.
Looking through a critical lens, it demonstrates youth as curious, and inexperienced, while the older we are, the wiser we become. I would read and have this book out if ever to teach at an upper-grade level. This book is an excellent opener for the discussion of life and death. As we discuss “Authenticity and Translations” of books, I realized that this book had to go through 3 different copyrights- not including the original copy. It included an American translation, and that just makes me wonder how much of the text did they change? How much did the author agree to, for the conversion of certain cultural words? I believe that this book is aesthetic appropriate because the author himself is from Japan, so a lot of contexts is based on Japanese life. Kazumi illustrates and creates these mental visuals about Japanese towns, city life, and most importantly the education through the lens of a young Japanese boy.
Objective: Since this book talks a lot about death, old age, and becoming of age. A great lesson plan would be to have children make an My Daily Book where children will write, color, and personalize a journal. Students will have a couple of minutes to customize and create a page, and reflect on what they had done, what would they do differently, and learned throughout that day. The idea of this project is so that when they get older, they can look back at their memories and experiences.
- How do you deal with death?
- What do you think will happen when we die?
- What does your family doe when some one has died?
- What are your goals in life?
- What is a good day for you?
- If you had a chance what would you do with it?