A Note from Holly Thompson
Originally from Massachusetts, for nearly twenty years I have lived in Japan. My books reflect the crossing of cultures amid my family, among my students, 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. Dragons are woven into the mythology of the hills, rivers, coast and temples of the Kamakura and Enoshima areas where I have lived in Japan for many years, and this lore appears in Dragon's Mouth, a story about a non-Japanese boy who practices aikido while struggling to find his way as an outsider in 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 for The Language Inside is HERE. Download this extensive guide for discussion questions, poetry prompts, essay topics, extension activities and service ideas. Enjoy!
School Library Journal says of The Language Inside: "Thompson captures perfectly the feeling of belonging elsewhere. A sensitive and compelling read that will inspire teens to contemplate how they can make a difference." And Kirkus says: "As Emma volunteers, helping a physically disabled adult write poetry, and meets a multigenerational Cambodian community with Khmer Rouge history, Thompson nimbly braids political tragedy, natural disaster, PTSD, connections among families, and a cautious, quiet romance into an elegant whole." See excerpts of more reviews in the BOOKS section of this site.
My verse novel Orchards was awarded the 2012 APALA Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature and was a 2012 YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults title. 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. I hope you'll join Kana as she is immersed in the tiny village of Kohama, working in the mikan orchards and trying to make sense of what happened. See the Orchards section of this website.
Visit the INTERVIEWS section of this site for lots of background on the stories I write.
If you'd like to invite me to speak at your school, please--contact me to inquire about an author visit.
Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction--An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories, the collection of 36 Japan-related stories that I edited and wrote the foreword to (see below), was published by Stone Bridge Press in March 2012. Check out the extensive Reader's Guide with all sorts of writing prompts and discussion questions and read interviews with the many contributors on the Tomo blog. Proceeds from the sales of Tomo continue to support teens in the areas of Tohoku, Japan, affected by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Read 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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And may you have many wonderful cross cultural journeys.
Safe travels to you!