Two Five College East Asian events aim to please families and inform educators

Two upcoming events organized by the Five College Schools Partnership Program will celebrate East Asian books for young people.

Children’s/Young Adult book author Holly Thompson at Hampshire College
July 10, 7 p.m. West Lecture Hall in Franklin Patterson Hall

Holly Thompson--The Wakame Gatherers

On Monday, July 10, Holly Thompson will talk about her writing and issues relating to crossing cultures in children's literature. Thompson is author of the young adult verse novels Falling into the Dragon's Mouth (Holt/Macmillan 2016), The Language Inside (Delacorte/Penguin Random House 2013), and Orchards (Delacorte/Penguin Random House 2011), the picture book The Wakame Gatherers (Shen’s/Lee & Low, 2007) and other books. She serves as a regional advisor for the Japan chapter of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators. She teaches creative writing at Yokohama City University in Japan.

A Massachusetts native and a graduate of Mount Holyoke College, Thompson has lived, worked, and raised a family in Japan, and her books reflect her bilingual, cross-cultural world. Her talk will take place in the West Lecture Hall in Franklin Patterson Hall at 7 p.m. It is free and open to the public.

Japanese festival Tanabata celebrated at Jones Library, July 11, 6 p.m.
Tanabata, or Star Festival, is a celebration of the meeting of two lovers who are gods represented by the stars Vega and Altair. According to the Tanabata myth, the Milky Way separates these lovers, and they are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The celebration is known in China as Qizi and in Korea as Chilseok.

The Jones Library will celebrate Tanabata this year with East Asian-themed stories, crafts and snacks followed by a storytelling presentation by Motoko. A native of Osaka, Japan, Motoko first came to the U.S. as an exchange student at UMass Amherst. She has since performed at hundreds of schools, libraries, museums and festivals. The event is free and open to the public; children of all ages are welcome.

These events are part of the Five College Schools Partnership’s Doors to the World Summer Institute. The institute brings together preschool and elementary school teachers to study diversity and representation in global children’s literature that is about or from China, Japan and Korea. Participants consider the histories and cultures of these nations to contextualize selected children’s books, and meet with children’s book authors, illustrators and other literature specialists to design multimodal learning experiences for children. Both events are also sponsored by the Five College Center for East Asian Studies.