How do you discuss the seemingly constant natural disasters — both local and foreign — with your children?
Thoughtful and well-written literature is a possible place to begin.
Kina and Jiya are young friends who live on the Japanese coast. Kina notices that none of the fishermen’s homes have windows facing the ocean. When he asks Jiya, whose father is a fisherman, why this is, Jiya responds, “The sea is our enemy. We all know it.” Kina is confused by this comment, since both boys love swimming and playing on the ocean’s shore.
But then a tsunami hits their village and Jiya’s entire family, except Jiya himself, is swept out to sea never to be seen again. Kina’s eyes are suddenly opened to the incomprehensible dangers of even everyday life.
Jiya is overcome with grief at his horrific loss, but Kina’s parents reach out and offer him a home. Jiya agrees to move in and with their love, he find the courage to continue living and eventually begins planning his own bright future — as a fisherman.
Life is full of unanticipated dangers and we need to help our children prepare for them as best we can. Sharing stories of courage and hope help our children prepare for whatever lies ahead for them.
Pearl S. Buck is best known, of course, for her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Good Earth, but she wrote over 40 other books that are worth taking a look at. The Big Wave, although short, is one of her best.
Advanced Early Grade Reading Level, 64 pages, Published in 1948.