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Author: Thompson, Holly
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
Year Published: 2016
ISBN: 9781627791342
Grades: Grade 5, Grade 6, Grade 7, Grade 8

Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth

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As a long-time resident of Japan, author Holly Thompson offers a great insider perspective to Japan, its culture and schooling in a multi-layered novel in spare verse. Jason Parker, a likable American boy, faces culture shock when forced to attend public school in Japan where his lack of facility with the language and his race mark him as distinctly different from the other students attending school in Kamakura fishing village. Targeted with emotional and physical bullying by his classmates, Jason practices aikido, looks after a younger sister, and befriends an elderly man with Parkinson’s disease, relying on┬áthese actions to┬ácenter his life. The page-turning quick read builds to a final harrowing incident that sheds light on the insidious nature of bullying, and would be an excellent read-aloud to open discussions about this serious subject to upper elementary and middle school readers.

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