Erika enjoys looking at the picture of a cottage with lighted windows at her grandmother's house. When she learns that her grandfather bought it in Japan, she decides she wants to learn all she can about Japan. She studies Japanese in college and even goes to Japan by herself. She arrives in a big city, moves to smaller city, and ultimately settles in a small town. She moves in with a local family and teaches school. In the end, she lives in a house just like the one in the picture on her Grandmother's wall.

Reader Enjoyment Factors:

Beautiful illustrations and a good story introduce children to Japan, Japanese culture, and following your heart.

Content Awareness Factors:


Little Kid Reaction

My daughter loved this book, especially the pictures. She noticed how Erika's appearance changes during the story, and how her life changed. She liked the tea dress and how Erika learned all she could so she could serve tea the proper way. She had me stop and explain to her about having tea. She learned about Japan, having tea, and how that even when you are bigger you can enjoy things you liked when you were a child.

Parent Reaction

I enjoyed this book a lot! The pictures were beautiful and enhanced the story. The story itself flowed well and made you want to keep reading to see where this Erika was going to end up. It held my interest the whole book even until the last page. I had picked this book, and I was hoping my daughter would like it. I was very happy when she had me read it to her again.

Type of Book:
This is a chapter book for transitional readers.
Educational Themes:

This book offers a positive view of Japan. There is a lot of information about Japan and Japanese culture, but it is also about a person. The story allows you to talk about memories, growing up, following your dreams, etc.

Reading Level:
Recommended Age To Read By Yourself:
9 to 12
Recommended Age To Read Together:
5 to 9
Age of child:
Read with 5-year-old girl
Purchase Recommendation:
Borrow, at least. This is a beautiful book.

Title Erika-San
Author Allen Say
Publisher HMH Books for Young Readers © 2009
Illustrators Allen Say
ISBN 9780618889334
Material Hard Cover
Genres Easy Reader, Family, Asia | Asian People
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