Awards and Distinctions:
A Horn Book Fanfare Best Book of the Year
ALA Notable Children’s Book
American Library Associations
Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC)
San Francisco Chronicle
Best Children’s Books of the Year
Bank Street College of Education
Asian Pacific American Award for Literature
Children’s and Young Adult Category
Children’s Book of the Year
Bank Street College Children’s Book Committee
An inspiring introduction to the life and poems of Issa, Japan’s best loved haiku master. Contains biography, illustrations, calligraphy, and the author’s translations of over thirty famous poems.
The Story Begins:
“Issa was born long ago in a small mountain village in Japan. In the spring, plum blossoms washed through the air, and Issa heard farmers sing as they planted rice. Insect cries lasted through summer, and warm rains pattered on his home’s thatched roof.
“By autumn, Issa was old enough to crawl outside. He watched his father cut the heavy rice stalks. His mother threshed and stored the grain. During the long snowy winter, he kept warm near the fireplace. Then when spring returned, he would rush outside where the sounds of laughing children would melt away the snow.
“In the mountains, these four seasons changed a little each day and filled Issa’s world with discoveries.
Plum tree in bloom—
a cat’s silhouette
upon the paper screen.”
What Others Say:
“As restrained, graceful, and concise as the art form it honors.”
—The Horn Book, starred review
“Readers would be hard-pressed to find a more eloquent…and inspiring approach to understanding (and writing) this deceptively simple art form.”
—Publisher’s Weekly, starred review