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Tell Me a Story, Please

The sweet magical tale from Japan highlights the power of reading aloud and the joy of creating a story. under a tall maple tree, a young Japanese girl reading stories attracts some animal companions. Though Yuka can read on her own now that she’s in first grade, she loves listening to her mother tell stories in different voices. When her ... Read More »

Hojo Tokimune

RANSHIN: Tokimune would become eighth Regent at age 18. The Hojo Regents at this time were the de facto rulers of Japan, effectively controlling the figurehead shogunate. Hojo Tokimune (1251–1284) was born an elite warrior and statesman, destined to rule his clan and country, on June 5, 1251, to the fifth Shikken (Regent) to the Shogun, Hojo Tokiyori. Tokimune would ... Read More »

Letter from Kublai Khan to the Japanese Emperor

RANSHIN: In 1266, Kublai Khan sent envoys to Japan with a letter addressed to the “King of Japan.” In 1266, Kublai Khan (1215–1294), the new Mongol emperor of China, sent envoys to Japan with a letter addressed to the “King of Japan”—a title guaranteed to offend the Japanese emperor. The letter itself was equally unpalatable. The Great Khan “invited” Japan ... Read More »

The Mongol Invasions of Japan

Ranshin: Literally meaning “divine wind,” the term kamikaze was coined in honor of the 1281 typhoon, as it was perceived to be a gift from the gods Nippon (Japan) is an island nation in East Asia. Archaeological evidence indicates that humans have lived in Japan since at least 30,000 BCE. During Japan’s long history, several communities have invaded the nation, ... Read More »

The Ninth Crusade

RANSHIN, the fictional Edward Gawain is among the 225 knights who arrived with Edward Longshanks in Akko in 1271. The Crusades—a series of religious wars carried out by Christian soldiers from Europe during the Middle Ages—are among the most significant events in the history of Europe and the Middle East. Beginning in 1095 CE, European knights and noblemen traveled to ... Read More »

The Secret Forest Friends

Forest Friends Series, Book 2 by Kyoko Hara & Kazue Takahashi Summer arrives, and once again Mayu goes to the forest near her grandparents’ house. The mailbox is still there. Mayu and Konta, a fox child, write letters to each other and explore the forest together. Mayu keeps this mysterious forest friend a secret. But one day while they are ... Read More »

The Mailbox in the Forest

A whimsical story about an unusualfriendship, and one girl’s discovery of thejoy that letter writing can bring. While spending a vacation with her grandparents, Mayu, a Japanese first-grader, finds a mysterious mailbox in the forest near their house. She writes a letter and leaves it in the box. The next day she is surprised to find a letter addressed to ... Read More »

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