Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Kenta and the Big Wave

Ohi, Ruth (Author/Illustrator)
Annick Press 2013. 32 pages
First published: 2013
ISBN: 9781554515776 (hardcover)
9781554515769 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

structures and features

Award

The Forest of Reading – The Blue Spruce Award Nominee – 2015

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

When a tsunami hits young Kenta’s village in Japan, his soccer ball is swept into the ocean and carried to the other side of the world. He climbs to the top of the hill when the sirens sound, just as he has practised in drills. There he is reunited with his mother and father in his school gymnasium, which is filled with people “looking for what they lost.” A gently told story of struggle and hope as Kenta’s family rebuilds their home and lives.

Pencil and watercolour illustrations in subdued tones fill the pages, depicting Kenta and the villagers. The ocean fills several spreads, making it a strong character in the visual storytelling. Simple sentences gracefully deal with the difficult subject matter of natural disaster: “every day, Kenta and his family looked for what the ocean had swept away.”

We go on an exhilarating journey with Kenta’s soccer ball as it is posted back to him by a little boy on the other side of the Pacific.” When it arrives, having travelled by airplane, “tiny truck and bumpy bike,” Kenta has no words but “thank you” as we see his family rebuilding their home.

This story of gratitude, selflessness and hope carries an intercultural message of commonality between children around the world.

  •  

    Read the Author’s Note about tsunamis, and the first page of the story. Discuss what has happened to Kenta. How did he know what to do? Make connections to how you prepare for emergencies.

  •  

    After the tsunami, Kenta improvised a new soccer ball but says “not all things could be fixed so easily . . . .” What might this mean?

  •  Retell the story from the point of view of the soccer ball.
  •  

    Find author’s notes in other books and create a class anchor chart about them. Include a definition, examples and notes about how an author's note helps the reader.

  •  Look at the cover page to predict the story. Then read the back cover. Do you need to change the predictions you made?
  •  

    Read the Author’s Note about tsunamis, and the first page of the story. Discuss what has happened to Kenta. How did he know what to do? Make connections to how you prepare for emergencies.

  •  

    Make a class list of the kind of emergencies that would require you to evacuate rapidly. Discuss the kind of problems that would be created by these disasters.

  •  

    When he heard the siren, Kenta left his house with his soccer ball. Identify three things you would bring with you in his situation. Explain your choices.

  • To communicate appropriately
  • To use information
  • To use information and communications technologies
  • Citizenship and Community Life
  • Environmental Awareness and Consumer Rights and Responsibilities
  • Geography, History and Citizenship