100 books like Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms

By Fumiyo Kouno,

Here are 100 books that Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms fans have personally recommended if you like Town of Evening Calm, Country of Cherry Blossoms. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Ghost World

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From my list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Why am I passionate about this?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Priya Huq Why did Priya love this book?

I don’t think I like Ghost World, but it belongs on this list. When I think of Clowes’ work I think of caricature, but the environments in Ghost World pull most of the storytelling weight. You can hear the hum of the fluorescents in the grocery store and the wind between buildings on an empty street.

By Daniel Clowes,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ghost World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1998 Ignatz Award Winner, Outstanding Graphic Novel: The inspiration for the feature film and one of the most acclaimed graphic novels ever.

Ghost World has become a cultural and generational touchstone, and continues to enthrall and inspire readers over a decade after its original release as a graphic novel. Originally serialized in the pages of the seminal comic book Eightball throughout the mid-1990s, this quasi-autobiographical story (the name of one of the protagonists is famously an anagram of the author's name) follows the adventures of two teenage girls, Enid and Becky, two best friends facing the prospect of growing up,…


Book cover of The Legend of Auntie Po

Sylvie Kantorovitz Author Of Sylvie

From my list on middle-grade depicting different cultures.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was five, my family moved from Morocco to France. We were Jewish in a very homogeneously Catholic world. My French upbringing didn’t include much exposure to other cultures and I often felt uncomfortably different. I would have liked to know more about various lifestyles, cultures, and traditions than those I observed around me. I now love to learn about other cultures through personal accounts, stories, and memoirs. I feel engaged and interested in a way I never experienced with textbooks. Reading about people who live a different life from our own can be an eye-opening experience.

Sylvie's book list on middle-grade depicting different cultures

Sylvie Kantorovitz Why did Sylvie love this book?

I love learning about life in another time period through a story. This one transported me to a logging camp in 1885. I learned about the life of the camp, the hard and dangerous work, and the treatment of the Chinese workers. 

Mei is the daughter of a Chinese cook. She dreams of studying at the university, but doubts she will ever be able to, because of her Chinese origins. 

I loved the deep but complex friendships between Mei and the foreman’s daughter and between Mei’s father and the foreman himself. I loved the affection between Mei and her father, their observance of Chinese traditions, and I loved Mei’s story-telling, re-casting Paul Bunyan as a benevolent Auntie Po.

By Shing Yin Khor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Legend of Auntie Po as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

A NATIONAL BOOK AWARD FINALIST
 
Part historical fiction, part fable, and 100 percent adventure. Thirteen-year-old Mei reimagines the myths of Paul Bunyan as starring a Chinese heroine while she works in a Sierra Nevada logging camp in 1885.

Cover may vary.
 
Aware of the racial tumult in the years after the passage of the Chinese Exclusion Act, Mei tries to remain blissfully focused on her job, her close friendship with the camp foreman's daughter, and telling stories about Paul Bunyan--reinvented as Po Pan Yin (Auntie Po), an elderly Chinese matriarch.

Anchoring herself with stories of Auntie Po, Mei navigates the…


Book cover of Artie and the Wolf Moon

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From my list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Why am I passionate about this?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Priya Huq Why did Priya love this book?

Olivia Stephens is one of the most skilled cartoonists of our generation. I was lucky enough to blurb Artie: Artie and the Wolf Moon, like all of Stephens’ work, is heartbreaking and heart-mending, gorgeously and lovingly rendered with a voice and eye for the gentle and powerful ways characters interact with one another…“ Like the best graphic novels set in the Pacific Northwest, Artie’s story could not be told without dense forests that hold both danger and sanctuary.

By Olivia Stephens,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Artie and the Wolf Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

“A heartfelt, magical family drama you can really sink your teeth into.” ―Nilah Magruder, M.F.K.

After sneaking out against her mother's wishes, Artie Irvin spots a massive wolf―then watches it don a bathrobe and transform into her mom. Thrilled to discover she comes from a line of werewolves, Artie asks her mom to share everything―including the story of Artie's late father. Her mom reluctantly agrees. And to help Artie figure out her own wolflike abilities, her mom recruits some old family friends.

Artie thrives in her new community and even develops a crush on her new friend Maya. But as…


Book cover of Mushishi Volume 1

Priya Huq Author Of Piece by Piece: The Story of Nisrin's Hijab

From my list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller.

Why am I passionate about this?

Environmental storytelling in comics is something that I’ve always admired and want to be better at. As a cartoonist I’m always thinking of better ways to tell visual stories, because it’s fun.

Priya's book list on graphic novels that use environment as storyteller

Priya Huq Why did Priya love this book?

Mushishi is possibly my favorite comic of all time. It doesn’t just use the environment as storyteller, but tells stories about environments in a way you wouldn’t expect. Though it’s a series of stories about people and their relationships, neither are divorced from the world itself. I cannot recommend this series enough and it is a huge influence on my own work.

By Yuki Urushibara, William Flanagan (translator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Mushishi Volume 1 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

THEY HAVE EXISTED SINCE THE DAWN OF TIME.

Some live in the deep darkness behind your eyelids. Some eat silence. Some thoughtlessly kill. Some simply drive men mad. Shortly after life emerged from the primordial ooze, these deadly creatures, mushi, came into terrifying being. And they still exist and wreak havoc in the world today. Ginko, a young man with a sardonic smile, has the knowledge and skill to save those plagued by mushi . . . perhaps.


Book cover of The Last Cherry Blossom

Tim Cummings Author Of Alice the Cat

From my list on kids with smart, strong female protagonists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I earned my Master’s in Writing For Young People, or ‘Bildungsromans’ a few years back, and subsequently published my debut novel, a coming-of-age adventure about a girl who goes on a quest to save her suicidal cat. I headed back to school to honor that long-alive love for kid lit. When I was a kid, I devoured books that irrevocably inspired, changed, and moved me: I voraciously consumed every book by E.B. White, Robert O’Brien, Madeleine L’Engle, Beverly Cleary, Ruth Chew, Mildred Taylor, Richard Adams, Roald Dahl, Lowis Lowrey, Gary Paulsen…every other major kid lit classic out there, really. 

Tim's book list on kids with smart, strong female protagonists

Tim Cummings Why did Tim love this book?

12-year-old Yuriko, a girl living in Japan with her expanding family and navigating the tricky terrain of World War II, is unlike other tween female protagonists.

She’s not outwardly assertive, feisty, or heading off on a quest. She’s more of a jewel of innocence, love, and curiosity. But when we witness the bombing of Hiroshima through her eyes, we see unexpected heroism take flight. The losses she suffers, the setbacks, the nightmares, the horror, the pure honesty in how she conveys it.

Author Burkinshaw wrote the book in honor of her mother, who survived Hiroshima. It’s unlike most books for kids that come down the pike. It’s about bravery, family, and beautifully illuminates Japanese culture. The story is about facing unimaginable events but not losing your heart in the battle. 

By Kathleen Burkinshaw,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Cherry Blossom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?


Yuriko was happy growing up in Hiroshima when it was just her and Papa. But her aunt Kimiko and her cousin Genji are living with them now, and the family is only getting bigger with talk of a double marriage! And while things are changing at home, the world beyond their doors is even more unpredictable. World War II is coming to an end, and since the Japanese newspapers don't report lost battles, the Japanese people are not entirely certain of where Japan stands. Yuriko is used to the sirens and the air-raid drills, but things start to feel more…


Book cover of Hiroshima No Pika

Constance Hays Matsumoto Author Of Of White Ashes

From my list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write stories and poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. Since marrying Kent 25 years ago and then growing to know and love his parents, something stirred in me to learn more and to write Of White Ashes. In our research, we relied on over 50 primary Hiroshima sources, visited the family home in Hiroshima, saw the bomb shelter my father-in-law dug into the side of a hillside, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the few buildings that still stand, and walked where my father-in-law walked. Researching and writing Of White Ashes changed me—forever. My article, "How the History of Nuclear Violence Shapes Our Present", was published in CrimeReads.

Constance's book list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror

Constance Hays Matsumoto Why did Constance love this book?

Hiroshima No Pika is an Illustrated book that immerses YA readers into the daily life of the Japanese before the atomic bomb was unleashed on them.

The aftermath is shown in raw and haunting illustrations. My father-in-law, an American hiding his identity in Hiroshima, was sixteen years old and working in a factory making rifles for his emperor when the bomb fell. Hiroshima No Pika tells the horrors of what he experienced that day. 

My favorite part is the ending. “It can’t happen again,” she says, “if no one drops the bomb.” Sadly, we are now closer to midnight (90 seconds) on the Doomsday Clock than at any point since the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists developed the design in 1947. Indeed, it can happen again. But we must have hope and work toward peace.

By Toshi Maruki,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hiroshima No Pika as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

August 6, 1945, 8:15 a.m.
Hiroshima. Japan

A little girl and her parents
are eating breakfast,
and then it happened.
HIROSHIMA NO PIKA.

This book is dedicated to
the fervent hope the Flash
will never happen again,
anywhere.


Book cover of Hiroshima

Rhys Crilley Author Of Unparalleled Catastrophe: Life and Death in the Third Nuclear Age

From my list on nuclear war and how to stop it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I currently spend my time researching (and worrying about) nuclear war and how to stop it from ever happening. I live about 25 miles away from where the UK’s nuclear weapons are based, so I have a very personal interest in making sure that nuclear war never becomes a reality! As a lecturer at the University of Glasgow I’m also embarking on a four-year research fellowship with over £1 million in funding where I will be leading a team of experts to research how to improve nuclear arms control and disarmament. So keep in touch if you want to reduce the risk of nuclear war and ban the bomb!

Rhys' book list on nuclear war and how to stop it

Rhys Crilley Why did Rhys love this book?

I really enjoyed Christopher Nolan’s Academy Award-winning Oppenheimer movie, and this book is the perfect book to read after watching it. Hiroshima was the first widespread account of what Oppenheimer’s creation – the atomic bomb – did to the people of Hiroshima.

Written in the immediate aftermath of the nuclear bombing, Hiroshima tells the story of six men and women who survived amidst the destruction that killed over 100,000 other people. By focusing on these six survivors, Hersey makes the almost unimaginable scale of destruction achingly real and relatable. At one point, he describes "the wounded as silent as the dead around them," and this line sends shivers down my spine. 

Few writers can conduct such detailed investigative reporting and tell the story in such a human way that still resonates today, nearly 80 years after it was first published. 

By John Hersey,

Why should I read it?

8 authors picked Hiroshima as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“One of the great classics of the war" (The New Republic) that tells what happened in Hiroshima through the memories of survivors—from a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. 

On August 6, 1945, Hiroshima was destroyed by the first atom bomb ever dropped on a city. This book, John Hersey's journalistic masterpiece, tells what happened on that day. Told through the memories of survivors, this timeless, powerful and compassionate document has become a classic "that stirs the conscience of humanity" (The New York Times).

Almost four decades after the original publication of this celebrated book, John Hersey went back to Hiroshima in search…


Book cover of On the Horizon

Constance Hays Matsumoto Author Of Of White Ashes

From my list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror.

Why am I passionate about this?

I write stories and poetry intended to influence positive change in our world. Since marrying Kent 25 years ago and then growing to know and love his parents, something stirred in me to learn more and to write Of White Ashes. In our research, we relied on over 50 primary Hiroshima sources, visited the family home in Hiroshima, saw the bomb shelter my father-in-law dug into the side of a hillside, visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum, the few buildings that still stand, and walked where my father-in-law walked. Researching and writing Of White Ashes changed me—forever. My article, "How the History of Nuclear Violence Shapes Our Present", was published in CrimeReads.

Constance's book list on beyond Oppenheimer: the truth, reality, and horror

Constance Hays Matsumoto Why did Constance love this book?

On the Horizon is unique, as it brings Lois Lowry’s personal experiences to the page.

Lowry was born in Honolulu, where the U.S./Japan war began during WWII with the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and was eleven years old when she moved to Tokyo where her father was stationed during the Occupation.

On the Horizon conveys great meaning over the course of its 72 pages, is creatively illustrated, and is appropriate for young and older readers alike. It delivers substance in verse—about those who died or whose lives were forever changed at Pearl Harbor and in Hiroshima. Names of the deceased and ordinary items—tricycles, paper cranes, and dolls—tell extraordinary stories of hate, shame, guilt, fear, loss, grief, and hope.

By Lois Lowry, Kenard Pak,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On the Horizon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII's most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima. With evocative black-and-white illustrations by SCBWI Golden Kite Award winner Kenard Pak. Lois Lowry looks back at history through a personal lens as she draws from her own memories as a child in Hawaii and Japan, as well as from historical research, in this stunning work in verse for young readers. On the Horizon tells the story of people whose lives were lost or forever altered by the twin tragedies of Pearl…


Book cover of Downfall: The End of the Imperial Japanese Empire

James Ellman Author Of MacArthur Reconsidered: General Douglas MacArthur as a Wartime Commander

From my list on World War II in the Southwest Pacific.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author and investor living in windward Oahu who has had a lifelong interest in military history ever since I read a biography of Alexander the Great when I was 12 years old. I have written several books including Hitler’s Great Gamble and MacArthur Reconsidered. For my next project I have transcribed, compiled, and edited 1,100 of General Douglas MacArthur’s daily communiques issued by his Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) headquarters from 1942-45. This collection will be published by McFarland in 2024.

James' book list on World War II in the Southwest Pacific

James Ellman Why did James love this book?

All of Richard Frank’s books are excellent, but Downfall is the most important.

We learn about the massive preparations for 39 American divisions to invade the Japanese Home Islands commencing in late 1945, along with Imperial Army and Navy plans to defeat the US landing force with more than four million men and 13,000 aircraft.

Had the invasion gone forward, casualties would have been counted in the millions with the Japanese planning to unleash kamikaze attacks on the US fleet in vast numbers while the Emperor’s fanatical soldiers backed by an armed civilian population readied themselves to kill as many American soldiers as possible before embracing their own honorable deaths.

It is difficult to finish this book and not conclude that the two atomic bombs which ended the war was a blessing for both sides.

By Richard B. Frank,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Downfall as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In a riveting narrative that includes information from newly declassified documents, acclaimed historian Richard B. Frank gives a scrupulously detailed explanation of the critical months leading up to the dropping of the atomic bomb. Frank explains how American leaders learned in the summer of 1945 that their alternate strategy to end the war by invasion had been shattered by the massive Japanese buildup on Kyushu, and that intercepted diplomatic documents also revealed the dismal prospects of negotiation. Here also, for the first time, is a comprehensive account of how Japan's leaders were willing to risk complete annihilation to preserve the…


Book cover of A Pale View of Hills

Alice Neikirk Author Of The Elephant Has Two Sets of Teeth: Bhutanese Refugees and Humanitarian Governance

From my list on cross-cultural interactions.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in a small, rural community that is perhaps best defined by cold, grey, rainy days – perfect reading weather. I developed an interest in learning about different places and cultures through books. Then I started traveling and my interest turned into a passion, that transformed my educational journey. I completed a Masters and PhD in Anthropology and did my field research for my degree in Australia and Nepal. I still love to learn about new cultures, though the children have meant less traveling and more adventuring via books!

Alice's book list on cross-cultural interactions

Alice Neikirk Why did Alice love this book?

On one of our first dates, my future husband gave me a book by Kazuo Ishiguro – it was love! Both with the future husband and the amazing author.

Ishiguro has a gift for cutting to the kernel of what it means to love, in a way that is beautiful and heartbreaking but in away that avoids being overly sentimental. When I first read A View of Pale Hills, a story centered on a woman reflecting on her time in Nagasaki before she moved to England, I was mesmerized.

I wanted to give the book to everyone I knew, it is a bit of mystery and I desperately wanted to talk about it! It is a touching, unsettling, and a powerful narrative about moving across cultures – the new possibilities that can provide and the complexities of the past.

By Kazuo Ishiguro,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Pale View of Hills as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature and author of the Booker Prize–winning novel The Remains of the Day

Here is the story of Etsuko, a Japanese woman now living alone in England, dwelling on the recent suicide of her daughter. In a novel where past and present confuse, she relives scenes of Japan's devastation in the wake of World War II.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Japan, Hiroshima, and presidential biography?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Japan, Hiroshima, and presidential biography.

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