While I Was Away

By Waka T. Brown,

Book cover of While I Was Away

Book description

Named one of New York Public Library's Best Books of the Year!

The Farewell meets Erin Entrada Kelly's Blackbird Fly in this empowering middle grade memoir from debut author Waka T. Brown, who takes readers on a journey to 1980s Japan, where she was sent as a child to reconnect…

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Why read it?

1 author picked While I Was Away as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In my experience, a truly unique book is rare, and I’m always excited to find one that stands apart because of premise and setting. Waka is happy in her sixth-grade class in Kansasuntil her parents notice she’s losing her Japanese language skills and decide to take action. They send Waka to Tokyo to spend several months living with her grandmother and attending a local public school. In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing kanji, feels awkward around her reserved grandmother, and can’t figure out the social scene at school. Japan may be her parents’ birth country, but…

From Cathy's list on families, changes, and challenges.

Want books like While I Was Away?

Our community of 10,000+ authors has personally recommended 100 books like While I Was Away.

Browse books like While I Was Away

5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japanese Americans, Tokyo, and Japan?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Japanese Americans, Tokyo, and Japan.

Japanese Americans Explore 43 books about Japanese Americans
Tokyo Explore 84 books about Tokyo
Japan Explore 462 books about Japan