Classic Pearl Buck Children’s Book Finds New Audience in Tsunami-Ravaged Japan

June 28, 2011

In 1947, Nobel Prize winning novelist Pearl S. Buck published a children’s story set in a fishing village in coastal Japan. She called it The Big Wave.

In the book, Jiro, a fisherman’s son, tells his friend Kino that sometimes the ocean can be angry, and that sometimes the old ocean god rolls up in bed, heaves his head and shoulders and the waves run back and forth. Then he stands upright and roars and the earth shakes under the water.

Japan’s March 11 triple disasters have brought attention to The Big Wave, and the message it carries to children about life. Sales in Japanese bookstores have soared, with parents seeking out the little-known 64-year-old Buck story to read to their children.

Here’s NHK World’s Tomoko Kamata’sĀ  June 28 report on the book.

Watch the YouTube video that gave new life to 64-year-old book. Listen to NPR Weekend Edition’s Jacki Lyden read from The Big Wave in this prophetic pieceĀ  from Jan. 1, 2005.

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