Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Big Wave” as Want to Read:
The Big Wave
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Big Wave

3.76  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,086 Ratings  ·  197 Reviews
Kino lives on a farm on the side of a mountain in Japan. His friend, Jiya, lives in a fishing village below. Everyone, including Kino and Jiya, has heard of the big wave. No one suspects it will wipe out the whole village and Jiya's family, too. As Jiya struggles to overcome his sorrow, he understands it is in the presence of danger that one learns to be brave, and to appr ...more
Paperback, 64 pages
Published April 18th 1986 by HarperCollins (first published 1947)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper LeeRomeo and Juliet by William ShakespeareThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott FitzgeraldLord of the Flies by William GoldingMacbeth by William Shakespeare
Required Reading in High School
185th out of 524 books — 847 voters
The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. LewisCharlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteThe Hobbit by J.R.R. TolkienThe Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson BurnettHarry Potter Paperback Boxed Set, Books 1-5 by J.K. Rowling
50 Books Every Child Should Read
172nd out of 484 books — 615 voters

More lists with this book...

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jonathan Peto
Aug 29, 2013 Jonathan Peto rated it it was amazing
This short book for intermediate level readers is a simple story written in a majestic style that gives the narration the power of myth. I loved it. A boy named Kino tells most of the story even though the story's protagonist is probably his friend, Jiya. Jiya's father is a fisherman. They live in a small village on the Japanese coast. Kino lives on a farm on a terraced mountainside that overlooks the fishing village and the ocean.

The story is simple, but heavy with meaning. Kino's father is oft
بسام عبد العزيز
Jan 13, 2014 بسام عبد العزيز rated it it was amazing
عندما يعشق شخص مادي براجماتي مثلي رواية بمثل هذه الرومانسية فإنها بالفعل شيء مختلف!

استمتعت بكل كلمة في الرواية.. بكل تشبيه.. بكل عبارة يقولها الأبطال..

تعاطفت مع ضحايا البركان.. و حزنت لموت عائلة البطل.. و فرحت بقاربه الجديد..
منذ فترة طويلة جدا لم أشعر بالأحداث حية بهذا الشكل... كأن شخوص القصة تتمثل أمامي من لحم و دم!

أما عن الفلسفة العميقة فحدث ولا حرج!
أنت لا تحتاج إلى عبارات طويلة ولا إلى كلمات معقدة ولا إلى تشبيهات مختلفة لتضفي عمقا على كتاباتك.. أنت فقط تحتاج إلى بشر عاديين يواجهون مصاعب الح
Aug 22, 2015 Selma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Strah čovjeka čini slabim. Ako se bojiš, tvoje ruke drhte, noge klecaju, a tvoj mozak nije kadar da naredi rukama i nogama šta treba da rade"
Nov 16, 2014 Anjali rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The theme of the book is always have family by your side .In the novel The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck young Kino lives in the island of Japan with his mother, father, and little sister Setsu. His best friend Jiya lives with his family in Japan near the water too. Every one has heard of the big wave and has believed in the big wave. Kino and Jiya do not even know what the big wave is .Never mind believe in it. When the big wave strikes Jiya goes through a loss. Jiya has lost his whole family and h ...more
Shahera Mostafa
Jan 25, 2014 Shahera Mostafa rated it it was amazing
رائعة..تبدو وكأنها قصة حقيقية لأناس حقيقيين..بسيطة جدا وعلي الرغم من بساطتها إلا أنها مليئة بالحكم..شعور قوي بالهدوء والسكينة بعد الانتهاء من القراءة...سعدت بها جدا جدا...
May 26, 2012 Yi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4children
This is one amazing book written by one amazing authoress! So many important topics were introduced in this heart-warming story about the lives of two little Japanese boys - natural disasters, life, death, friendship, courage, bravery, acceptance. In 78 pages (i.e. the edition I have), Pearl S. Buck was able to convey all these difficult topics to her readers, the young and the old, in such a way that one easily takes these ideas/Japanese philosophies to heart.

A few of my favourite quotes from
A YES for the 12/13 yr. read aloud!

What a little treasure hiding in my library shelves! AT 57 pages one might not think there could be too much to it, only it's written by Pearl Buck, so of course she can pack everything she wanted to about the subject into such a tiny book.

I know next to nothing about the Japanese culture, but I felt captivated by the people in this book and their outlook on life.

I think this will be a great book to read aloud to kids of any age. If we don't read it to our F
Sep 26, 2010 zabarj rated it really liked it
Summary: Kino lives on a farm on the side of a mountain in Japan. His friend, Jiya, lives in a fishing village below. Everyone, including Kino and Jiya, has heard of the big wave. No one suspects it will wipe out the whole village and Jiya's family, too. As Jiya struggles to overcome his sorrow, he understands it is in the presence of danger that one learns to be brave, and to appreciate how wonderful life can be.The famous story of a Japanese boy who must face life after escaping the tidal wave ...more
Anne Elizabeth
Nov 07, 2013 Anne Elizabeth rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kori Looker
Apr 19, 2013 Kori Looker rated it really liked it
"The Big Wave" is an inspiring story. Kino and his friend, Jiya, both live in Japan on different levels. Jiya lives on the beach as a fisherman. Kino lives on the mountain as a farmer. They both have heard of the big wave, but never thought much of it until it changed Jiya's life forever. The day the big wave came, Jiya lost his family, his home, and his happiness. Kino's family took Jiya in as their son. Jiya knew one day he would return to his home beach, and he did with Kino's sister, Setsu, ...more
Corbin Billington
Nov 02, 2012 Corbin Billington rated it really liked it
The Big Wave is a book with great meaning and truly teaches readers a great significance to life. I gave The Big Wave four stars for the fact that it has more impact on the reader than most other books I have read. It tells a story of the people living in Japan and the dangerous things that could happen while living there. They know their lives are constantly on edge and somehow they learn to live with these fears while still enjoying life. In fact, life to them means more than to the average pe ...more
Good short story about friendship between two boys and the fears they have about life and death.
Dec 27, 2012 Aaron_ebert rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: 9-13
Recommended to Aaron_ebert by: Corbin Billington
Shelves: childrens-books
"The Big Wave" was a book based on the life of the fictional character Jiya, a young boy from a farm village placed directly in between the ocean and the Mountains of Japan. Jiya's family died in the great storm and his best friend's parents were forced to raise him as their own. An old gentleman who owned a school specifically designed for orphans came and offered to adopt Jiya as his own son! You will have to read the book to find out the ending. This book would be perfect for children between ...more
Jan 28, 2016 Jen rated it it was ok
I read this aloud to my girls in three sittings this week. It is a very short middle grade novel that follows two boys on a Japanese island. We all thought it was okay, but we agreed that we weren't sad when it was over.
Jan 07, 2008 Teresa rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Teresa by: Wicked Incognito Now
My thanks to April for letting me know about this book. I agree with her comments, and I also think it does a great job in bringing into the story why people rebuild in a devastated area.

These quotes from the story could've been written about here in N.O.:

father to son: "... Every day of life is more valuable now than it was before the storm."

'But time, however long, was split in two parts by the big wave. People spoke of "the time before" and "the time after" the big wave. The big wave had cha
Jun 01, 2016 Issac rated it it was amazing
Personal Response- I just finished reading The Big Wave. This book had me really thinking in the beginning. It was a little slow at first, but then it started to get intense towards the middle and end of the book. I like how it almost feels like a mystery about how the water is evil. It then all came together and made sense.

Plot- Kino lived on a farm on the side of a mountain in Japan. His friend, Jiya, lived in a fishing village below. Everyone, including Kino and Jiya, has heard of the big wav
Burkley Rudd
Jun 02, 2015 Burkley Rudd rated it liked it
Shelves: books-1-12
Jiya lives in a fishing village at the base of a Japanese mountain. His best friend Kino lives on the slopes of the mountain above the village, working rice fields with his father. The friends live in a paradise of plentiful fish for the fishermen, and natural wonders to explore. Despite all the happiness they enjoy, they are never far from danger. A volcano boils not far from the village, and the ocean always threatens to rise up and wash away everything. A wise old man lives in a small castle ...more
Mar 24, 2014 Sasha rated it really liked it
Title: The Big Wave
Author: Pearl S. Buck
Date of Publication: 1947
Award: Child Study Association Children's book Award (won a Pultzier for another novel as well as a recipient of Noble Prize for Literature).
Genre: Fiction
Summary: Kono lives on a farm on the side of a mountain in Japan. His friend, Jiya, lives in a fishing village below. The boy's lives is forever changed when a giant wave sweeps over the village and Jiya's home and family parish. Jiya must make some difficult decisions in his str
Jan 05, 2014 Fusako rated it it was amazing
The copy of this book I was given to read from my teacher was an old, beat up book that was stapled together with tape all down the spine. This gave me a clear first impression of the book: that it was a VERY frequently read book. And after reading it, I could see why. "The big wave" is an amazing story and to me, mostly a recovery story. After the tsunami hits jiya has to live with kino's family and has to recover from his being washed away.
Mar 10, 2016 Michael rated it it was amazing
I just read this book to my six year old, all in one sitting. We both thoroughly enjoyed it. The book is excellent on many levels, good for both adults and children. The quality of the writing, the beautiful illustrations, the cultural connections, the perfect blending of scientific and mythic explanations for tidal waves, the reflections on life, death, and fear: all of these work together wonderfully.
Jun 25, 2015 Genevra rated it it was amazing
This is on my son's summer reading list.
What a wonderful sweet sad little story.
"life is stronger than death"

and this whole passage

"He will cry and cry and we must let him cry. But he cannot always cry. After a few days he will stop crying all the time. He will cry only part of the time. He will sit sad and quiet. We must allow him to be sad and we must not make him speak. But we will do our work and live as we always do. Then one day he will be hungry and he will eat something that our mother c
Jun 20, 2010 Doreen added it
This slim volume is an excellent choice for middle school students. Contains lessons about the fear of death, the will to live, and the value of friends and family. Would be an interesting selection to include in a thematic unit on natural disasters or survival stories.
Mar 06, 2014 Gus rated it really liked it
Shelves: form-i-reading
I believe that the author's central idea of "The Big Wave" by Pearl S. Buck is to show how life is for a village located in Japan once a humungous tidal wave hits the village directly. The novel takes place in a village on the shoreline of Japan. The novel is told i third person limited. Jiya is the main character/protagonist and he lives in a village with his family, including his father, mother, and sister. Jiya's best friend is Kino, who also lives in the same village of Jiya, with his family ...more
May 26, 2009 Keri rated it it was amazing
A very short read with an incredibly powerful message. After a tsunami destroys a small fishing village in Japan, one surviving boy discovers that life is more powerful than death. A beautifully written story with lots to think about.
Wicked Incognito Now
Jan 06, 2008 Wicked Incognito Now rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: children, a study of Japanese culture, or dealing with scary weather phenomenon
Recommended to Wicked Incognito Now by: from the Sonlight book list
This is excellent for opening the discussion with children about fear of natural disasters.

Pearl S. Buck teaches us to love life for what it is, not to fear the unknown......

Short, children's story.
Jan 16, 2014 Anthony rated it really liked it
"The Big Wave" starts out as a village located in Japan. Were natives to the land are living. The people there are living off the land and sea. They are frightened by the sea and the land (plot).

Kino who lives on a farm on the side of a mountain. His friend, Jiya who lives on the beach down the mountain. Are the two main characters in the book. These two like to swim and go on adventures together (characterization).

"The Big Wave" takes place in present day time. The story takes place on a mounta
Feb 07, 2016 Elizabeth rated it really liked it
The Big Wave by Pearl S.Buck is an enlightening novel focusing on the survival of the human spirit written for young readers. In recent history, a great earthquake and tsunami occurred in the Indian Ocean. Its impact took its toll on the human, plant, ocean, and animal life throughout the area. For many young people as well as their parents, it is hard to identify with this powerfully destructive natural disaster. However, this 1947 novel by Pearl S. Buck brought the horror of this destructive f ...more
May 09, 2015 Jennifer rated it really liked it
I didn't know how this would go because I thought "The Good Earth" was so depressing. This was still serious, but a lot lighter--definitely suitable for kids. Her descriptions of grief are stunningly real. I think it's really helpful that it's about watching a best friend's grief, which would be really helpful for kids (and anybody) wanted to understand how their grieving friend feels. The cultural part was really cool (I assume it's accurate). Great life lessons. Overall great source of literar ...more
Christopher Herrera
My opinion about the book is that it is a really good book it has a lot of intense and calm moment Kino lives with his family in japan and his best friend is there to the main setting of the story is in japan in a house Kino and his family and friends go through a lot with this gigantic wave that burst out of the ocean also Kino is a farmer and his best friend Yayi is a fisherman. i would recommend this book to Jeffrey because I think he likes books that are calm. this book would be great for te ...more
Jan 26, 2014 Hajar rated it really liked it
This what I like about children stories; the innocence that pops up in every part of it. While we used to take many things for granted , children keep always asking lots of whats and whys as they have that deep passion of exploring the world around. It would be sad, shame at the same time, if we,as adults, didn't provide a good answer just because we accepted things for what they are and didn't really bother ourselves thinking about it! !

I read this short story in order to tell it for my 4 year
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
ASF 7th Grade Books: Patricio Fernandez 1 2 Oct 16, 2014 05:29PM  
the big wave 1 5 Jan 17, 2012 01:22AM  
the big wave 1 3 Jan 16, 2012 05:45PM  
  • Ali and the Golden Eagle
  • Li Lun, Lad of Courage
  • The Master Puppeteer
  • The House of Sixty Fathers
  • The Land I Lost: Adventures of a Boy in Vietnam
  • The Kite Fighters
  • Teresa of Calcutta: Serving the Poorest of the Poor
  • Daughter of the Mountains
  • Water Sky
  • All the Small Poems and Fourteen More
  • Commodore Perry in the Land of the Shogun
  • Born in the Year of Courage
  • Phoebe the Spy
  • Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde (World Landmark Books, W-12)
  • Tales of a Korean Grandmother: 32 Traditional Tales from Korea
  • Red Sand, Blue Sky
  • Rickshaw Girl
  • Journey to Jo'burg: A South African Story
Pearl Sydenstricker Buck was a bestselling and Nobel Prize–winning author. Her classic novel The Good Earth (1931) was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and William Dean Howells Medal. Born in Hillsboro, West Virginia, Buck was the daughter of missionaries and spent much of the first half of her life in China, where many of her books are set. In 1934, civil unrest in China forced Buck back to the United St ...more
More about Pearl S. Buck...

Share This Book