Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating


3.86 of 5 stars 3.86  ·  rating details  ·  361 ratings  ·  108 reviews
Ojiisan, the oldest and wealthiest man in the village, doesn?t join the others at the rice ceremony. Instead he watches from his balcony. He feels something is coming?something he can?t describe. When he sees the monster wave pulling away from the beach, he knows. Tsunami! But the villagers below can?t see the danger. Will Ojiisan risk everything he has to save them? Can h...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published February 5th 2009 by Philomel
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra DeedyThe Lion and the Mouse by Jerry PinkneyThe Curious Garden by Peter  BrownMoonshot by Brian FlocaRed Sings from Treetops by Joyce Sidman
2010 Caldecott Hopefuls
6th out of 62 books — 160 voters
Hush! A Thai Lullaby by Minfong HoOne Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-GarciaShades of Black by Sandra L. PinkneyI Love My Hair! by Natasha Anastasia TarpleyGuji Guji by Chih-Yuan Chen
Chromatic Children's Literature
13th out of 139 books — 21 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 573)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
The purpose of a picture book? Think carefully now. The answer’s not going to jump up and bite you on the bum. Does it exist primarily to instill a love of literature? A love of art? To teach children to read? Is it an artistic form in and of itself, separate entirely from its practical purposes? Is it made to please adults with children as a secondhand afterthought, or does it please all persons regardless of age? Such questions do not always come up after reading one of these 32-odd page creat...more
This is my read aloud for this week -- for all grade levels, K-5. In light of what has happened in Japan, I want our students to get a sense of understanding of what is happening in the world around them. I choked up several times while reading this book this morning.
Ojiisan is the wealthiest person in his small village. His wisdom has people walking the crooked track up the mountain to ask for his advice. Ojiisan decides not to go to the rice harvest celebration in the village because something does not feel right to him. So he watches the celebration from high above on the mountain. When the first earthquake comes it doesn't stop the celebration below. Then Ojiisan sees the sea moving away from the shore, he realizes what is happening - tsunami! But how ca...more
Published in 2009 by Philomel
Interest Level: 5th-8th Grade

This was an interesting perspective of a Tsunami and its effect on people. The main characters of the story, the grandfather and grandson, set fire to their grain to save the villagers who are to busy celebrating in a festival to realize that a giant Tsunami wave is coming. I was somewhat confused by the story, since in my understanding a Tsunami is a hurricane, but then I realized that it is a giant tidal wave. The illustrations are in a...more
CH13_Lisa Matthews
Tsunami is adapted from Lafcadio Hearn’s story “A Living God” is a story about a rice farmer name Ojiisan which mean “grandfather” who lived in a Japanese village by the sea. Ojiisan is the wealthiest person in the village and lived on a high mountain that overlooked the village and the sea. One day during the rice harvest ceremony approached a tsunami that only Ojiisan saw from his mountain top cottage. Oijjsan made the ultimate sacrifice to save all the villagers who were celebrating the rice...more
"Tsunami!" takes the reader to a rural town in early 20th century Japan during a traditional rice harvest celebration. During the festivities, the town elder senses the severity of one of the earthquakes that causes no alarm to the the villagers who are too preoccupied with the festivities to notice the magnitude of this particular tremor in a land frequently shaken with earthquakes. The elder ignites his rice field, which is the source of his entire year’s income, that triggers the villagers to...more
Tsunami! / Kimiko Kajikawa, Ed Young--Illustrator / 2009
Genre: non-fiction
Format: picture book
Plot Summary: A wealthy man in a Japanese village, who everyone calls Ojiisan, which means grandfather, sets fire to his rice fields to warn the innocent people of an approaching tsunami.
Considerations: suspenseful overtones

Review Citation: School Library Journal, vol 55, issue 1, p76
"Young uses a panoply of papers to create collages that tell the story of a sacrifice that saved hundreds of lives. Patte...more
Great story about a sensitive rice farmer who knew what was most important and how to take care of people - based on a true story
Tsunami is a beautiful story, scary but human and satisfying.
I LOVE Ed Young's illustrations in this book. It's amazing how bits of paper and collage can create such a sense of atmosphere and movement. Tsunami would be a great book to introduce children to the natural disasters. It would also a great teaching tool for how simple acts can make someone a hero.

From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3—Wealthy Ojiisan suffers a feeling of foreboding as he watches colorful rice festival celebrations from his cottage high above...more
Erin Reilly-Sanders
I really love the story- its message of people being more important than wealth is really beautiful. Ed Young's pictures, as always are beautiful. Despite using a collage style, the characters have a lot of individuality and expression unlike some others that I've read recently, Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson coming to mind. However, as beautiful as they are, they are usually too busy to appreciate. The people hidden behind the ocean spray on one set of pages are almost indistinguishable....more
Mary Ann
Long ago in rural Japan, a grandfather was tending his rice fields high on a mountaintop overlooking his seaside village. That day, his family went down to the village to celebrate the rice harvest, but Ojiisan, the grandfather, told his family that something did not feel right. So he and his grandson Tada stayed behind on the mountain. Later that day, an earthquake struck, “a long, slow, spongy motion.” But earthquakes are common in Japan, and this earthquake was not strong enough to alarm anyo...more
My niece informed me that she wants to give this book five stars, so five stars it is! She was quite taken with Tsunami, which is a based on a true story about a man named Hamaguchi Goryou who, in 1854, saved many in his village from a tsunami that followed an earthquake.

As the danger of the tsunami grew in this book, my niece tumbled further into the story, and by the time the tsunami struck the village, she was literally sitting on the edge of her seat, just about as close to the book as she c...more
Margo Tanenbaum
Caldecott winner Ed Young and writer Kajikawa team up to create a stunning picture book about one man’s simple sacrifice in the face of a natural disaster. Somehow Ojiisan, the wisest, oldest, and wealthiest man in the village, feels that something isn’t right the day the autumn day the villagers are to celebrate the rice harvest. When an earthquake strikes, the villagers are not frightened, but soon “the sea was running away from the land.” Ojiisan knew that it was a tsunami, and that he must g...more
Paige Sullivan
The story Tsunami by Kimiko Kajikawa, is about a man named Ojiisan, who was the oldest and wealthiest man in the village, he was watching all of the people in the village at the rice ceremony from his balcony. He didn't go that day because he had a funny feeling about it and preferred to just watch from the balcony. And as he looked through the horizon he saw a monster wave pulling away from the beach and he knew there was a tsunami heading their way. The rest of the story talks about him riskin...more
Historical Fiction review:

This book began a long time ago in Japan with a wealthy rice farmer named Ojiisan. He lived near the sea in a cottage that was on a mountain. Ojiisan's name meant grandfather. People often walked up the hill to ask him for advice. One day his family prepared to walk down the hill to the rice harvest, but Ojiisan didn't want to go. He said something didn't feel right so he and his grandson stayed home. They watched the festival from the top of the mountain. Ojiisan felt...more
Lisa Vegan
I found this story remarkably touching. I don’t know if it’s an old folk tale or whether I’ve read the same story in another book, but the plot was very familiar to me. The themes of sacrifice and altruism are paramount here.

The illustrations are incredibly special. I love collage and the technique is used wonderfully here.

However, I have had only two recurrent nightmares in my life: one that started when I was eight and one (about tsunamis) that began when I was fourteen. The tsunami one starte...more
Tsunami! is a folklore picturebook for nursery and primary readers.

The book simply tells the story of an old, wise villager in Japan who upon feeling an earthquake realizes it is not a "normal" earthquake for the area. He and his grandson are the only villagers not near the beach and he makes a heroic effort to save the rest of the village from the impending tsunami.

This book has amazing pictures, which are done in a torn paper style of art. The colors are vibrant and the paper used was texture...more
Julie Esanu
This book tells the legend of how Ojiisan, the wise and wealthy village elder, saves his village from a thundering tsunami. Ojiisan watches as villagers gathered to celebrate the rice harvest and only he feels the tremor of a slight earthquake. Sensing the village is in danger and trusting his instincts, he sets fire to his entire rice crop to warn the villagers of impending danger. This visually compelling story of bravery and selflessness helps mark the first anniversary of the March 11 earthq...more
A beautiful story about sacrifice in the face of natural dangers. When Ojisan, the oldest and wealthiest man in the village see a monster wave pulling away from shore he knows what to expect next: a tsunami.

To save the village and alert everyone of the impending danger he burns his rice fields which gathers the village so they can all escape to safety before the village is drowned by the massive wave heading their way.

This story is very well told. The text puts readers right into the action jus...more
This is a beautiful children's picture book! It tells the story of rice farmers in a seaside village. The oldest and wealthiest man of the village lives up the hill. He decides not to go down to join the others on the day of the rice harvest celebration. He feels a small earthquake, and from his vantage point up the hill he sees the sea run away! Being an old and wise one, he knows what that means. But how can he warn all the other villagers?

The pictures in this book are extraordinary! All geome...more
lola Franco
this book was amazing. so well written, the language is evocative and so descriptive. when she writes that the ocean is running away from the land, i could just picture the rush of the water going away, away in the opposite direction.

the drawings were also exquisite. lucy loved this story. can't wait to read more about the person ojisan is based on.
Beautifully and simply written, with abstract, but meaningful illustrations, I found myself loving this book! This book tells the story of a wealthy Japanese man who risks his own riches in order to save the lives of others in his village. I felt that this story shed light on the importance of putting others before oneself and that it portrays this message perfectly to young readers. The pictures in this book also show a natural disaster in a very abstract way that forces the developing reader t...more
Dornel Cerro
A simple, beautiful story of an honored grandfather who willingly destroys his crops to save his fellow villagers from a powerful tsunami. Ed Young's collages are breathtaking and heighten the drama of the narrative. Recommended for K-3 (and older children for the art).
Lisa Frase
In the interest of embracing cultural literacy in my classroom, I searched my file cabinet filled with picture books for something to read out loud. I came across a galley I obtained a few years ago of Tsunami by Kimiko Kajiikawa.

Tsunami is folk Japanese story about wealthy rice farmer who sets fire to his crops in order to warn villagers of an oncoming tsunami. His sacrifice saved 400 people from being carried out to sea.

I read this book aloud in less than ten minutes to my fourth graders. They...more
Jul 12, 2010 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
Intense. That's the only word I can use to describe this story. The illustrations are amazing and go well with the text to describe the intensity of the experience and the emotions that Ojiisan felt, knowing that if he didn't act quickly, his whole village would perish.

This is a great story, and surprisingly, not too scary. Although I would recommend it for children 5 and up. We really enjoyed this story, and having lived on a Japanese island for 4 years (Okinawa) and now a Hawaiian island for 4...more
If after reading the description of this book you thought, "Huh, that sounds familiar," then you may have read The Wave by Margaret Hodges (illustrated by Blair Lent) - a 1960 Caldecott Honor Book. Frankly, I liked the text of that one much better. Or possibly I just preferred the tone of the book overall? But, I rather preferred the pictures in this newer version. I must admit, though, they were a good bit scarier, which took out some of the feel-good heroic emphasis of the story. I thought th...more
The art in Tsunami! is interesting and gorgeous. The story creates a human link to a terrifying phenomenon. I might pair it with The Boat for a mini-lesson during the 7th grade unit on Southern and Eastern Asia. If I split the class into two reading groups and had them read this together, I could then bring the class together to begin discussing current events such as the continuing effects (political, cultural, economic) of Tsunamis on parts of Asia. By using it with The Boat, I could link it w...more
Amanda V
This story captures the story of the catastrophic tsunami event over in the Middle East through the eyes of a man, Ojiisan, observing the disaster from his balcony. He chooses not to go to the rice ceremony that the rest of the people are attending...knowing that something bad was about to happen. This book serves as a great way to introduce students to the destruction, devestation, and surprising arrival of this historical tsunami and lends itself to endless discussion (such as "how did this ch...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 19 20 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Hook
  • My Name Is Sangoel
  • Wabi Sabi
  • 14 Cows for America
  • The Lion's Share
  • Mermaid Queen: The Spectacular True Story Of Annette Kellerman, Who Swam Her Way To Fame, Fortune & Swimsuit History!
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
  • Fred Stays With Me!
  • Down, Down, Down: A Journey to the Bottom of the Sea
  • Goal!
  • Redwoods
  • The Negro Speaks of Rivers
  • You Never Heard of Sandy Koufax?!
  • The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families
  • Mama Miti: Wangari Maathai and the Trees of Kenya
  • Dinothesaurus: Prehistoric Poems and Paintings
  • Kamishibai Man
  • The Snow Day
Kimiko's true love of reading and writing began one day at her local library. Kimiko says, "My local librarian asked me if I had ever read Harriet the Spy. She said that it was a great book, and I immediately took it home. I read the entire book that day! I was so disappointed when it ended that I reread it immediately. I had to find a way to keep the spirit of Harriet the Spy alive with me, so I...more
More about Kimiko Kajikawa...
Yoshi's Feast Close to You: How Animals Bond Sweet Dreams: How Animals Sleep

Share This Book