Himawari House by Harmony Becker, First Second, 2021. 9781250235572
Format: Paperback graphic novel
Genre: Realistic fiction
What did you like about the book? Nao was born in Japan to a Japanese mother and a white American father. When she was four, the family moved to the U.S.. Conflicted as to whether she is American or Japanese, she decides to spend her gap year in Tokyo studying Japanese. Her housemates at Himawari House are Hyejun from Korea and Tina from Singapore. There bond is nearly immediate and strong. The other housemates are two Japanese brothers, outgoing Hinichi and the rather withdrawn Masaki. Each girl’s individual story is revealed in depth and each individual character is fully developed and realistic (and lovable). Becker’s black and white illustrations capture emotions in facial expressions with absolute perfection (Just look at the cover!). Also fascinating are the speech bubbles in Japanese, Korean and English. It is quite impossible to not feel that you are actually in Japan.
Anything you did not like about the book? Not a thing.
To whom would you recommend this book? I think many high schoolers would identify with the characters in the story as the experiences are universal.
Who should buy this book? Public and high school libraries
Where would you shelve it? Y Graphic novels
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Katrina Yurenka, Retired Librarian, Contributor, Youth Services Book Review
Date of Review: March 7, 2022