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Beyond Me

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  26 reviews
In the spirit of A Place to Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference.

March 11, 2011
An earthquake shakes Japan to its core.
A tsunami crashes into Japan’s coast.
Everything changes.

In the after
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published June 2nd 2020 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
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Average rating 3.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  126 ratings  ·  26 reviews

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Reading_ Tam_ Ishly
Mar 23, 2021 rated it it was ok
One of those books in which the blurb is far more better than the actual content.

The actual writing goes downhill with too many spaces to waste even when it's a book in verse.

The story almost never started.

And it's annoying to read something that has been written just to fill the pages with nothing much to tell.

Sep 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake, the strongest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history, shook northeastern Japan, unleashing a savage tsunami. More than 5,000 aftershocks hit Japan in the year after the earthquake. The tsunami caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant resulting in the release of radioactive materials. ( and National

Beyond Me is one story of this tragedy. Fifth-grader Maya lives in Japan w
Apr 18, 2021 rated it really liked it
This was my first experience with a novel in verse, and I thought it was truly a lovely tribute to the 2011 earthquakes and tsunami that rocked Japan. Downwerth-Chikamatsu’s language, imagery, and use of simple but poignant symbols was a moving way to share this event with my own child.

I also thought that it was a particularly meaningful story for us to be reading in the midst of COVID - though incredibly different in nature, there are parallels between these experiences of trauma. Watching May
Mar 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I just got an arc of this book. Wonderful novel in verse! My 10 year old loved it too. I may even by it for my high school library collection.
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
One of Those Prose Poetry Novels

I wish I could believe these prose poetry books are works of art but I can’t help believing it’s more about low readability or Lexile numbers. The subject is the massive earthquake and tsunami in which the nuclear power plant was severely damaged. A young girl worries about her friend who lives in the North where the earthquake’s epicenter was. I really think a full story written clearly and telling a full story using sentence and deep thoughts would be appreciate
Jul 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
"Will Earth stop shaking?" "Will radiation ever go away?" These are some of the scary and thoughtful questions the main character, Maya, asks in this nicely written prose book. It is set during The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011. Maya lives with her parents, grandma, and great-grandfather. They experience the first big earthquake and the aftershocks to comes in the next few months. Maya writes to us daily in her journal when a quake or aftershock happens. She marks eac ...more
Dec 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Maya lives with her family in western Tokyo, next to her grandparents farm. In March 2011 she is getting ready to graduate from 5th grade and enter 6th grade. (Japanese schools start late March/early April and go until the following March.) She and her best friend text everyday.

Why I started this book: Recommended by a coworker this novel in verse, details the story of 5th grade Maya who lives with her family in west Tokyo during and after the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

Why I finishe
Aug 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
I thought this was a very well-written book in verse. I liked the formatting especially, where every aftershock felt after the 2011 earthquake in Japan is marked in a timeline on the sides of the pages, so you can almost feel the shocks as the character speaks. If you've ever experienced a strong earthquake, you can definitely understand all the feelings the character goes through. It wasn't as exciting a book as I had imagined it would be, considering the topic, because the characters are a bit ...more
Feb 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
An engaging story told in poetic verse about the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Northeast Japan in 2011. Told through 11-year old Maya's eyes, the book effectively uses page design and text layout to share the anguish of not knowing, and the worry of each aftershock, which went on for weeks. Concern over the Fukushima Daichi nuclear plant meltdown begins to spread and Maya focuses on folding cranes as an offering to those suffering in the North, and also to planting sunflowers, which she be ...more
Eileen Winfrey
I’m always on the lookout for novels in verse for my school library collection and this one will be a great fit. (It’s also nice to add a story about Japanese characters that don’t have to do with internment camps...even if this is a story about the natural disasters in Japan of 2011).
Maya and her friend are fifth graders preparing for an upcoming school concert when the earthquakes begin. The tsunami hits Northeast of Maya’s home, but she suffers from fear and anxiety over the next weeks as aft
Nothing like a pandemic to highlight the slow horror of a natural disaster. This book, despite being about a major earthquake/nuclear issue, is very undramatic because if you're living on the outside of such things - you're impacted just not in the "Ah! I lost a limb/house/life!" way.

It is interesting if you have the outside context for it but rather slow and slice of life-ish if you don't have that in your pocket.
Dec 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
I went back and forth between 3 and 4 stars. It is written in poetry form. The story is about the Great East Japan earthquake and Tsunami. It was a part of Japan's history that I didn't know that much about. The story focuses on Maya and her struggles on dealing with what is going on and how she feels about the others that the tsunami and earthquake are effecting. She is trying to deal with how she feels about it all and not being able to help others in need. ...more
Feb 02, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book, which is written in prose.

The main character, Maya, tells her story of what it was like, for her and her family, to live outside of Tokyo during the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. The clever graphic representation of time and quaking really makes you feel as if you are right there with Maya as she grapples with her fear and turns it to something helpful and good.
LS Johnson
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
I think this is a great book for young readers to learn about the tragedy that occurred in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. I enjoy books in verse, but the continuous time stamps distracted me. I know they were meant to mark the time and length things were happening, but it took away from the story a little bit.
Jul 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book! Such a stressful time to live in Japan for a child. The timeline (counting minutes at times) and the formatting of the text really bring the situation to life for the reader, and the verse is just lovely. My twelve-year-old and I both loved it!
Nov 28, 2020 added it
Maya a fifth grader, and her family are lucky to have a house that is intact and a garden full of food. On March 11, 2011 a Earthquake shakes Japan. Now Maya measures time by the aftershocks. As people jump into action Maya is stuck feeling helpless. She doesn't know what she can do to help.

Nov 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Donwerth-Chikamatsu captures the widespread anxiety and confusion in the aftermath of the 3/11 multiple disaster in Northeastern Japan, but there is also hope and beauty. I especially loved the evocations of the natural world, and the introduction of Shadow, the cat.
Heather Layne
Oct 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books, poetry
A story told through poems, so a very quick read. Not right in the middle of the tsunami disaster, but close enough to it to be affected, in a number of ways.
Susan McGilvray
Jan 29, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2021-winter
Touching novel in verse - the aftershocks of the earthquake must have been terrifying.
Jan 25, 2021 rated it it was amazing
i enjoy this book very much it teaches you amazing things and awakens creativity, recommended
Mrs. Shaundell Smith
A fantastic book about the March 2011 Japanese tsunami and earthquake. Told from the viewpoint of an 11 year-old Japanese girl.
Megan Henriksen
Aug 30, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
Mandy Perret
Jan 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
It was great! Well written poetry about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan
Apr 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: verse, middle-grade, arc
4th/5th grade and up
Dec 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Told in verse, this is the story of eleven year old Maya and her experience during and after the 2011 earthquake in Japan. Shaky and varied-shaded text helps the reader feel the motion and worry. The text is also time stamped (16:10, 16:12, 16:13) which initially lends a sense of urgency and breathlessness but later becomes ineffective and makes the narrative drag.

Readers who are especially interested in japan, earthquakes, and the Fukushima nuclear power accident will enjoy this. Otherwise, par
Apr 01, 2021 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, poetry
Very thankful to the author who sent me a copy all the way from Japan!

I really enjoyed this, I love free verse!

An easy, quick read.

rated it it was amazing
Jan 14, 2021
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Jan 09, 2021
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Richard Gemperline
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Sep 06, 2020
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