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Jasmine Toguchi #1

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen

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Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker!

She's also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie--something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before.

But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year's Day?

160 pages, Hardcover

First published July 10, 2017

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About the author

Debbi Michiko Florence

31 books171 followers
Author of the middle grade books: KEEP IT TOGETHER KEIKO CARTER and JUST BE COOL, JENNA SAKAI, SWEET AND SOUR, and the upcoming THIS IS HOW I ROLL (January 2023/Scholastic). KEEP IT TOGETHER KEIKO CARTER is a Junior Library Guild Gold Standard Selection, a New England Book Award finalist, and a Project LIT 2020-21 Book Club selection. Kirkus Reviews gave JUST BE COOL JENNA SAKAI (an Amazon Editor's Choice Pick) a starred review and says it is "...complex as is delightful."

Also the author of the chapter book series Jasmine Toguchi about a spunky Japanese American 8yo girl. Four new Jasmine Toguchi books coming in '22 - '23! First up, BRAVE EXPLORER (10/18/22)! Available now: Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen; Jasmine Toguchi, Super Sleuth; Jasmine Toguchi, Drummer Girl; and Jasmine Toguchi, Flamingo Keeper (FSG/207 and 2018). Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen was a Junior Library Guild selection, Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017, a Bank Street 2018 Best Children’s Books of the Year, on the 2018 Amelia Bloomer List, and on The Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC) 2018 Choices List (Best of the Year). Jasmine Toguchi Drummer Girl is a 2019 Cybils Award winner, a Maryland Blue Crab Young Reader Award winner, a Junior Library Guild selection, on the CCBC 2019 Choices List, and on the Chicago Public Library’s Best Of list.

Co-wrote the picture book biography NIKI NAKAYAMA: A CHEF'S TALE IN 13 BITES with Jamie Michalak, art by Yuko Jones. This book received a starred review from Publisher's Weekly and Booklist.

A third generation Japanese American, a native Californian, and former classroom teacher and zoo educator. For more information, please see author's website.

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5 stars
359 (36%)
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440 (45%)
3 stars
157 (16%)
2 stars
16 (1%)
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5 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 219 reviews
Profile Image for Janete on hiatus due health issues.
654 reviews262 followers
December 24, 2022
4,5 stars. SYNOPSIS: "The first book in a new chapter book series featuring a spunky Japanese-American heroine! Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is a flamingo fan, tree climber, and top-notch mess-maker!

She's also tired of her big sister, Sophie, always getting to do things first. For once, Jasmine wishes SHE could do something before Sophie—something special, something different. The New Year approaches, and as the Toguchi family gathers in Los Angeles to celebrate, Jasmine is jealous that her sister gets to help roll mochi balls by hand with the women. Her mom says that Jasmine is still too young to join in, so she hatches a plan to help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Surely her sister has never done THAT before.

But pounding mochi is traditionally reserved for boys. And the mochi hammer is heavier than it looks. Can Jasmine build her case and her mochi-making muscles in time for New Year's Day?"
Profile Image for Alia.
111 reviews11 followers
March 17, 2017
Cute series about a determined Japanese American girl who won't let anyone stand in the way of her doing mochi-tsuki! It has the standard beg. chapter book plot lines of a pesky cousin & an annoying older sister but what shines about this book is that it's #ownvoices/fills a much needed multicultural void in beg. chapter books. There aren't many beginning chapter series about Japanese American kids. Nice illustrations too. I love the addition of a mochi recipe at the end of the book (kids can make mochi just like Jasmine's family). Looking forward to more from this series. Strong start. :)
Profile Image for Kate Olson.
2,127 reviews724 followers
August 3, 2017
Move over Ramona Quimby, there's a new feisty little sister on the pages! Jasmine Toguchi is dying to be a part of her family's traditional mochi-making event, but everyone tells her she's just not old enough yet. She'll show THEM! It was an absolute delight to read this early chapter book and see Jasmine's fierce determination to prove she IS old enough and IS strong enough and she CAN pound mochi even though she's a girl! There are beautiful black-and-white illustrations interspersed with the text, and the story is written in a perfect style and level for grades 1-3. I would highly recommend this as a grade read aloud in these grades with a mochi-making party when the book is finished - there is an easy-to-make recipe in the back!

I can't wait to share this book with students in my library and read the rest of the books in the series!
Profile Image for Jason June.
Author 14 books417 followers
February 11, 2017
Jasmine has such a fun personality! She is so determined to make a mark in her family's mochi making traditions, you can't help but root for her!
Profile Image for Elly Swartz.
Author 8 books139 followers
February 3, 2017
Jasmine Toguchi – Mochi Queen by Debbi Michiko Florence is a wonderful story about a strong third grader named Jasmine. I fell in love with Jasmine on page one when she said, “I, Jasmine Toguchi, do not like to clean! But I do like to climb trees, eat dessert, and make messes.” She’s spunky, brave, and determined to break tradition. This eight-year-old girl can do anything she sets her mind to. In the end, she learns that strength is more than the muscles on your skinny arms. As her sister Sophie says, “You’re strong….And I’m not talking about muscles. You believe in something and you don’t let anyone change your mind.” Love Jasmine! Highly recommend this heart-warming read!

I received an arc for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jen Petro-Roy.
Author 8 books333 followers
December 6, 2016
So fantastic. I loved Jasmine's determination, and the details about mochi and the family's traditions were so well-described and explained.
Profile Image for Dov Zeller.
Author 2 books104 followers
September 18, 2017
Jasmine Toguchi, a young Japanese-American girl, wants to help her family make mochi for the new year, a family tradition that brings family members in from near and far, including her grandmother and aunts and uncles and several cousins. But, according to family tradition, she is too young to be part of the mochi making and is expected to stay on the sidelines and do younger kid stuff. Meanwhile, her bossy-and-not-so-pleasant older sister and her mean cousin get to help. Jasmine is frustrated and upset. She feels the injustice deeply. She wants to help, to be able to part of this exciting process and though she keeps being told she can help soon (when she's ten I think, so two years) she refuses to take 'no' for an answer and comes up with a plan to try to be part of the mochi-making. Moreover, she decides she wants to pound rice, which is traditionally a job for the boys and men of the family.

Jasmine's stubbornness gets her into trouble, but it also allows her to access opportunities she would not otherwise have. And gains her respect of the people she believes she is least likely to get it from. This is a simply told story, nothing flashy or fantastic about it, but it is easy to relate to for anyone who has older siblings I think, or who feels frustrated by limits put on them because of their age and/or gender (i.e. lots of kids) It's sweet and enjoyable and important as a story that has a strong female lead character, and can be a way in to engage kids in conversations about gender and tradition and rules (and rule-breaking) (reminds me of the oft-quoted "well-behaved women rarely make history"), and it's a book in which Japanese-American kids can see themselves represented in American fiction.

Glad I came across this one. I took it out of the library b/c I though it was a graphic novel and read it even though it was a prose novel with some illustrations. Not sure if I'll check out other books in the series, but glad I know it exists.
Profile Image for Olivia Hinebaugh.
Author 2 books52 followers
April 19, 2017
This book was so sweet. Put me squarely back into feeling invisible as a middle child, but in a fun way? My kids were delighted by reading this aloud. I loved that there is a girl character who strives to be strong and important. Also, my kids and I can't wait to try the mochi recipe. :P
Profile Image for Shenwei.
462 reviews222 followers
July 16, 2017
a really cute story about a Japanese American girl wanting to join the family tradition of making mochi but bumping up against rules of age and gender that say she can't help. of course, the rules are nothing to a girl with a will 😊
Profile Image for Karina.
Author 11 books816 followers
October 8, 2017
What a wonderful book! I love Jasmine, and I cannot wait for more adventures in future books!
Profile Image for Tia.
874 reviews321 followers
February 1, 2023
This was adorable. Loved Jasmine and her family. And I definitely plan on trying out the mochi recipe with my kids asap!
Profile Image for AMY.
2,380 reviews
December 18, 2019
107 pages. This is another in the series of Jasmine Toguchi when her family is expecting relatives to visit for New Year’s Day. They celebrate by making mochi. Jasmine wants to be the first to do something special and finds it difficult to convince other family members she is up to the task of pounding the mochi. There are lots of realistic situations that kids might relate to. I think this series would mostly appeal to girls. At the end there is a detailed explanation of the Japanese tradition of making mochi, as well as a recipe. This one was not not as interesting as the first one in the series, but still a solid story. Recommended for Grades 3-5.
Profile Image for Becky B.
7,382 reviews94 followers
April 27, 2021
Jasmine Toguchi is tired of being the little sister and only getting to do things after her big sister gets to experience them. For once, she'd like to do something Sophie has never done. As the extended family gathers to celebrate mochi-tsuki on New Years, Jasmine is determined to get involved somehow. Sophie will get to help the women make mochi in the kitchen this year because she's ten now. Jasmine is only eight, but she's thinking up a way to convince the adults to let her do something besides babysit her little cousins.

I was happy that Jasmine finally worked up the guts to talk to the adults. A great lesson for kids that change doesn't happen without some communication. Getting a peek at the Japanese New Year traditions was the best part of this book, and I loved it for that. Having lived in the LA area for three years I found the illustrations a bit ridiculous. Nobody who lives in LA wears shorts around New Years unless there's freakishly warm weather. From November to March all the locals are going around in long sleeves and long pants, and if not a heavy coat at least a sweatshirt. I know you think it's warm because that's what Hollywood tells you, but it really isn't. It may often be sunny, but it is still pretty cool in the winter with highs only in the 50s most days of January. The only ones in shorts and t-shirts are the tourists, and often that's because they only packed shorts and t-shirts because they believed the lies of Hollywood. Anyway, that's really a minor thing but it bugged me. A great pick for kids looking for an Asian American main character, or looking for exotic holiday traditions. The text seems geared for upper lower grades or lower middle grades.
Profile Image for Martha.
1,248 reviews9 followers
January 5, 2018
How refreshing to read this chapter book about head strong 8-year-old Jasmine, whose Japanese traditions are cherished in her upbringing. As the youngest child of her family and cousins not including the 4-year-old twin cousins, Jasmine is furious that she isn't yet able to help make mochi balls. This is a complicated treat the entire family including grandmother Obaachan and everyone else except the little twins creates together for their New Year's celebration. How can she help? Perhaps changing a rule, (too young to help her mother, aunts, and cousins make the mochi balls) maybe helping the men with their tasks might be the answer, but is she strong enough to pound the rice for the mochi balls? Frustrated with all of the rules, Jasmine spends a lot of time cooling off in her private spot in her neighbor's tree. There is a good message here about sticking to your goals, her family is disciplined, yet they are also good listeners. Young chapter book readers will welcome this new heroine , and possibly make their own mochi balls from the recipe at the end of the story.
Profile Image for Liliana.
258 reviews15 followers
June 24, 2019
Super cute, a definite recommend. The whole story revolves around a family tradition called Mochi-tsuki. The protagonist, Jasmine, wants to help with making mochi but is considered too young. She makes it her goal to not only help before the age of ten, but to help with the men's part, not the women's.

This was a really easy and quick read that I would recommend for readers getting started on chapter books. I like how the author made sure to explain the importance of Mochi-tsuki to Jasmine and explain what went into making mochi. I took away a lot of insight into this cultural tradition and felt that the representation was done really well. I especially like how the author included a quick mochi recipe at the end in case any reader wanted to try making their own treats.

Needless to say, this book made me go out and try mochi for the first time. It was delicious!
August 25, 2017
I read this one with my five year old recently, because he saw it on my shelf and decided the cover looked awesome. And it was.

The chapters are the right length for a kid who loves stories but has ADHD, and we'd often get through multiple chapters a night. Jasmine is smart and funny, and her problems with her family (being too little and having to wait, being the wrong gender for the activity she wants to do) resonated with Alex, who is a second child and wants to be a ballerina when he grows up. And she loves flamingos and tree climbing, which he also endorses.

Oh, and when we got to the end of the book, he wanted to make mochi, so we're doing that this weekend. Along with starting the next Jasmine book. :)
Profile Image for Mississippi Library Commission.
389 reviews74 followers
January 19, 2018
Jasmine Toguchi is hands down one of our new favorite heroines. She's independent, she's got gumption, and she bucks tradition, but that doesn't mean she's not a total sweetheart, too. We loved her interactions with her family, from her Obaachan (grandmother) and her parents to her older sister and baby cousins. It was lovely and refreshing to see a portrayal of an extended family carrying on traditions with new generations, and Florence does an especially good job here as she explores Japanese-American culture. The illustrations are peppy and cute, enhancing the story by adding movement and energy to the story. There's a lot to learn and love here; we highly recommend this early chapter book!
Profile Image for Andrea Wang.
Author 15 books129 followers
January 30, 2017
I loved this story about Jasmine Toguchi, a Japanese American girl who is eager to take part in her family's mochi-making tradition for the Japanese New Year holiday. The only problem? She's too young. Jasmine's spirit and determination in the face of obstacles like her bossy older sister and her mean cousin are wonderful to see. The book is a great introduction to Japanese culture and gently touches upon the cultural gap between Jasmine and her grandmother, making it a good read for anytime of year (not just for the new year). Fans of Ramona Quimby and Clementine will enjoy this book.
Profile Image for Katie Slivensky.
Author 2 books65 followers
February 13, 2017
This is a fantastic story for any young go-getter! Jasmine wants to help her family with a special tradition, but keeps being told she can't. She's not old enough. She's a girl. But Jasmine won't take no for an answer, and goes after her ambition anyway. I was cheering so much for her throughout, and I am sure there are many young readers who will do the same. A great read teaching kids that they can break boundaries if they have enough determination.

(As a side effect, I also really want some mochi right now! Thank goodness a recipe is provided!)
Profile Image for Rei A.
204 reviews6 followers
September 11, 2018
Jasmine Toguchi is a determined, smart Japanese-American eight-year-old who wants to pound the mochi for New Year's. Except only the men in her family do the mochi-tsuki! She wants to participate but worries that she's not strong enough to wield the hammer to pound the sticky rice into mochi.

What a cute, heartwarming story--perfect, I think, for my nieces, who are part Japanese-American and in the reading age range. And it evoked memories for me, of helping my grandmother make mochi in her kitchen and having the mochi in our ozoni every New Year's Day.
Profile Image for Bridgett Brown.
830 reviews45 followers
July 4, 2017
I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway.
Eight-year-old Jasmine Toguchi is sick of being a babysitter. She wants to help make the Mochi. Mochi is a sticky rice treat that is made into shapes. The adults tell her you can help when your over 10. Jasmine don't like that. Not only does she want to help, she wants to do the "man" job of pounding rice, instead of making them into rice balls.
A very cute story. My daughter really liked it.
Profile Image for Danielle.
Author 2 books223 followers
August 22, 2017
First, I love the design of this book, the colors and look of the cover are ace. Then, I like the relatability of a girl who wants to do something designated for older kids, and for boys. Then, I like that this explores the tradition of making mochi for the new year, and other aspects of Japanese and Japanese American culture. The drawings complement the story beautifully. And I really like this line too:
"But sometimes with parents you have to make them feel important." :)
Profile Image for Marta Boksenbaum.
436 reviews14 followers
March 10, 2017
A story about a young Japanese-American girl who wants to help her family make mochi for the new year, but she is too young, and she wants to pound the rice which is a job for men, not little girls. Jasmine is a stubborn girl who knows her mind, and readers will root for her to get a chance to help in the way she wants.
Profile Image for Lesley Burnap.
453 reviews5 followers
August 6, 2017
Perfect for independent readers in grade 2 (late) or 3+. Love the Mochi Queen for introducing me to a fantabulous 3rd grader and her wonderful family! Love the relationships between siblings and cousins! This book was also great for teaching me about mochi-tsuki. (Don't worry, there's a recipe and more information in the back!)
Profile Image for Kassie.
309 reviews2 followers
July 12, 2019
My 8-year old self really relates to this story! I have a big sister (three actually), and I wished I could do things on my own, to become the "expert" at something.

It was fun to learn more about Japanese culture, and I really want to try out the recipe in the back of the book. I can't wait to share this with my nieces and nephews!
Profile Image for Sarah.
361 reviews43 followers
February 18, 2018
This was a delightful book. A very early reader (I’d say 2-4th grade). It’s for early readers, but it doesn’t talk down to them. Michiko Florence respects her characters and her audience. Watch out Ramona, Jasmine Toguchi’s coming for you!
Profile Image for Lisa.
61 reviews1 follower
October 23, 2018
Super cute first book of a new series about a Japanese American girl and her family living in Los Angeles! Fun family dynamics and cultural elements as Jasmine participates in mochitsuki for the New Year. I liked that the author included a simple microwave mochi recipe at the end as well!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 219 reviews

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