Dreaming of the Springtime Blossoms
On a very spring like day, Sakura's Cherry Blossoms written by Robert Paul Weston and illustrated by Miso Saburi tells us the story of Sakura who must leave her beloved Obaachan when her father get transferred to the States for work. When she arrives in this strange country, with words that feel “like the tang of pickled plums” in her mouth, she is lonely. She longs for spring days beneath the cherry blossoms with Obaachan. Slowly she makes a friend named Luke who finally makes her feel at home. Sadly, Sakura must return to Japan when Obaachan falls gravely ill. When she returns to the States she is very sad and spends the whole winter missing Obaachan until the weather warms. Luke has a wonderful surprise for Sakura in the spring.
Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms is such a rich book full of poetic language. Being it is written in a series of Tanka poems, traditional Japanese poems with five lines and thirty-one syllables, it is apropos the story be filled with simile and metaphor, rich descriptive language to invite the reader into Sakura’s world. It is also a story of displacement and navigating a whole new world and a whole new language. It’s about making new friends and how through sharing with friends, new places can begin to slowly feel less lonely, more like home. Finally, it is a story about grief and the sadness of losing someone close, about how to remember them and cherish all the beautiful memories made in their time. The incredibly beautiful, fluid and inviting art by Miso Saburi brings the story to life. Saburi portrays all the beauty of the cherry blossoms and the sadness of Obaachan’s illness so effectively in her art. It’s a beautiful book you will want to immediately grab off the bookshelves.
Sakura’s Cherry Blossoms not only inspires the reader to create his or her own Tanka poems, but also encourages heading out to explore the beauty of cherry blossom season. We are fortunate in Toronto to have a vivid cherry blossom season in our very own High Park, which attracts people by the thousands. This book is the perfect companion to the newly blossoming season of renewal. Thank you Net Galley for the advanced copy of this gorgeous story. I can't wait to pick it up when it releases on February 20th.