Far Eastern Lands

For the fourteenth year, I had a reading game in my children’s library last summer. The theme of these games is always geographical, encouraging readers to encounter books they might never otherwise notice and to be exposed to other cultures. After working our way through the Western Hemisphere in previous reading games, we bounced back and forth between Europe and Asia in subsequent games, and this past year we focused on the Far East, specifically Japan, Korea, and the Philippines. These countries are near to each other, have their own complex pasts with each other, and have been both enemies and friends of the United States.

I had always been aware that Japan and the Philippines are island nations—the Philippines has over 7,000 islands and Japan more than 4,000, but I was surprised to learn that Korea also has many islands—over 3,000 in fact. So that is another way in which these countries are related.

I plan to do two columns on books focused on these countries. In this first one, I highlight some prolific Japanese and Korean authors.

Japanese Authors

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Kathie Johnson has always had a love for children's books. She collected many as a teacher and began sharing them with other teachers. In 1986, she opened a children's library in her home, and it has continued to expand over the years. Many home-schooled and schooled children borrow books from it, and she takes great pleasure in finding the "right" book for a child. She attends First Presbyterian Church in Berkeley.

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