Thursday, January 24, 2008
Barasch, Lynne. 2007. HIROMI’S HANDS. New York: Lee & Low. ISBN 9781584302759 [Suggested Grade Levels K–3]
This biography of Hiromi Suzuki, the daughter of a sushi chef who longs to learn her father’s trade, is a story of the relationship between father and daughter and following a dream. Barasch relates the story of Hiromi’s father’s childhood growing up in Japan and his lifetime of hard work to become a sushi chef. Muted color illustrations capture the feeling of Japan, and the story focuses on young Akira Suzuki accompanying his mother to the fish markets in Japan and his years of lowly work as an apprentice learning his trade. As the story moves to Hiromi Suzuki accompanying her father through the fish markets of New York and her work as an apprentice in her father’s restaurant, the reader knows she is committing to years of training and hard work.
The story resonates on many levels, illustrating the dedication it takes to master a trade, highlighting a strong parent-child relationship wherein a skill is passed on, and proving that even in a male-dominated culture like that of the “itamae” (sushi chefs), a girl can succeed with encouragement and perseverance.
An author’s note features a picture of Hiromi Suzuki with details about her life as one of the first female sushi chefs in New York. Details about the history of sushi, as well as a glossary and pronunciation guide may encourage readers to give sushi a try.
Have readers draw or write a short passage about what they might like to become when they grow up. Encourage readers to visit a sushi restaurant and watch the chefs at work.
Others books by Barasch:
KNOCKIN’ ON WOOD. ISBN 1584301708
RADIO RESCUE. ISBN 0374361665
By Tammy Korns