Young Adult
Emma Karas was raised in Japan; it’s the country she calls home. But when her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer, Emma’s family moves to a town outside Lowell, MA, to stay with her grandmother while her mom undergoes treatment. Emma feels out of place in the U.S., begins to have migraines, and longs to be back in Japan. At her grandmother’s urging, she volunteers in a long-term care center to help Zena, a patient with locked-in syndrome, write down her poems. There, Emma meets Samnang, another volunteer, who assists elderly Cambodian refugees. Weekly visits to the care center, Zena’s poems, dance, and noodle soup bring Emma and Samnang closer, until Emma must make a painful choice: stay in Massachusetts, or return early to Japan. (Delacorte, 2013)
After a classmate commits suicide, Kana Goldberg is sent to her family’s home in Japan for the summer. Kana wasn’t the bully, not exactly, but she didn’t do anything to stop what happened, either. As Kana begins to process the pain and guilt she feels, news from home sends her world spinning out of orbit all over again. (Delacorte, 2011) 2012 APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature
Tomo (meaning “friend” in Japanese) is an anthology of young adult short fiction in prose, verse and graphic art set in or related to Japan. This collection for readers age 12 and up features thirty-six stories—including ten in translation and two graphic narratives—by authors and artists from around the world, all of whom share a connection to Japan. Tales of friendship, mystery, love, ghosts, magic, sci-fi and history will take readers to Japan past and present and to Japanese communities abroad. Proceeds from the sales assist teens affected by the 3/11/2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami. (Stone Bridge Press, 2012)
Bicultural Nanami goes seaweed gathering with her Japanese and American grandmothers. While translating for the two women she comes to understand they were at war when they were her age. (Shen's/Lee & Low, 2007)
New Adult, Adult
"A wonderfully insightful novel about a young woman living within two cultures. Thompson adeptly explores the lasting bonds of friendship and the courage needed to face the past in order to embrace the future."—Gail Tsukiyama, author of Women of the Silk and The Samurai’s Garden
Short Stories, Poems, Articles and Essays
Holly Thompson's short stories, poems, articles and essays can be found in these anthologies, journals and magazines: click here

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A Note from Holly Thompson

Welcome to my website and my intercultural world. A native of Massachusetts, for nearly twenty years I have lived in Japan. My books reflect the crossing of cultures amid my family and within the communities in which I find myself immersed.

My new verse novel, Falling into the Dragon's Mouth will be published by Henry Holt in 2016. Falling into the Dragon's Mouth is a story about a non-Japanese boy who practices aikido while struggling to find his way as an outsider in his Japanese school and his seaside community in Japan.

My new picture book, Twilight Chant, a lyrical evocation of the transition between day and night and an exploration of the animals who thrive during this special time, is forthcoming from Clarion.

The Language Inside was a YALSA 2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults title, a 2014 Notable Books for the Language Arts title, a 2014 Bank Street Books Best Books selection, and a Notable Book for a Global Society 2014. Learn a bit about the story behind the story here. The Discussion, Writing, Activity and Service Guide, with discussion questions, poetry prompts, essay topics, extension activities and service ideas, for The Language Inside is HERE.

Orchards received the 2012 APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. Kana is a Japanese and Jewish/American girl sent from her home in New York to spend the summer with relatives in Japan after the suicide of a classmate. Join Kana as she is immersed in the mikan orchards of the tiny village of Kohama trying to make sense of what happened.

Visit SPEAKING & VISITS for info about school visits, Skype visits, presentations and more.

Visit CONTACT, CONSULTS for info about manuscript consultations.

Visit NEWS & EVENTS for info about publications, classes I'm teaching, conferences I present at and more.

Visit BOOKS for info on my various books.

Visit INTERVIEWS for lots of background about me and the stories I write.

CONTACT ME with any questions.

Follow my HATBOOKS BLOG about travel to Cambodia and other parts of Asia, school visits, volunteer work in tsunami-hit Tohoku, mikan oranges and wakame seaweed, day-to-day Japan life, and teaching and writing.

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May you have many wonderful cross cultural journeys. Safe travels to you!

Holly Thompson