Kenta and the Big Wave

Author/Illustrator: Ruth Ohi
Annick Press
Language: English

* A Kirkus Reviews Best Book
*  Ontario Library Association Blue Spruce Nominee
* Saskatchewan's Shining Willow Nominee
* Caribbean's Rainforest of Reading Nominee
* Year's Best Selection-Resource Links
* Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s "Best Books"

*  Best Multicultural Children's Book Selection
   (The Centre for the Study of Multicultural Children's Literature)


"Ohi offers young children a tsunami narrative that is forthright in its treatment but not alarming. The soccer ball’s journey sustains the book’s nicely limited, childlike perspective while adding a symbolic gesture of help for those harmed by a natural disaster. The appealing mixed-media illustrations make this an attractive choice for reading aloud."

School Library Journal:
"Spare language and full-color watercolor illustrations that flesh out the narrative make this a multilayered introduction to Japan, the concept of a tsunami, and the cross-cultural commonality of soccer for children."

Canadian Materials: Highly Recommeded (4/4 stars)
"The determination of the people in Kenta's village to hold on to hope is a good message for young readers as are the boy's selflessness in returning Kenta's ball and Kenta's gratitude at being reunited with his soccer ball...My three and five-year-olds enjoyed this book, wanting it read more than once in a single sitting."

Resource Links: Highly Recommended.
" a fine example of how a simple tale can be beautifully enhanced and enriched through deft text and intelligent illustrations...This book is highly recommended for both public and school libraries."

 Kirkus Reviews (starred review):
"An eminently child-friendly treatment of the devastation that follows disaster."

CanLit for Little Canadians:
"I know that Kenta and The Big Wave will touch many readers, though I suspect there will be many a teacher who will recognize the multitude of teachable moments in the book: perspective, compassion, loss, grief, generosity and tsunamis.  Here is a story that explains, with kindness, that which seems almost inexplicable."

New York Public Library:
"A great little readaloud that takes a big scary event and makes it kid-friendly."

The Absent Librarian:
"...the gem of this story is the adventure that Kenta's soccer ball goes on and it's journey back to Japan..." (read full review here) 

"...a bittersweet story that young boys especially will be able to relate to and enjoy reading.  Highly recommended."

Library Media Connection:
"The simple text and beautiful illustrations make this a magical story. . .  Highly Recommended."

Quill & Quire Fall Preview List:
"Ruth Ohi leaves Chicken, Pig, and Cow in their Popsicle-stick barn in favour of a weightier story, but one that is told with a light touch. Kenta and the Big Wave (Annick, $19.95 cl., $9.95 pa., Sept.) tells of a boy whose beloved soccer ball is washed away in the Japanese tsunami, and the surprising journey it takes before being returned to him."

The tsunami has swept everything away--including Kenta's most prized possession.

 When tragedy strikes Kenta's small village in Japan, he does all he can to hang on to the things that matter to him most.  But amidst the chaos of an emergency evacuation brought on by the tsunami, Kenta and his family must quickly leave their home. 

Climbing to safer ground, Kenta watches as his prized soccer ball gets swept away by the waves, never to be seen again...that is, until it washes up on a beach on the other side of the world, into the hands of a child who takes it upon himself to return the ball to its rightful owner.