Following the massive earthquake that took place on March 11, 2011 in northeast Japan, author Holly Thompson, who resides in Yokohama, knew she had help in some way. She put out the call to writers who had a connection with Japan and asked them to submit their stories for a benefit anthology that would support teens affected by the quake. Tomo: Friendship Through Fiction – An Anthology of Japan Teen Stories was published on the one year anniversary of the quake and all sale proceeds go to organizations that assist teens in the quake and tsunami hit areas. Tomo, which means friend in Japanese, aims to bring Japan stories to young adult readers worldwide, and in so doing, help support teens in Tohoku. The book contains contributions from creators of prose, poetry and graphic narrative, as well as translators, whose shared connection is Japan. Their work makes for a remarkable collection.
PaperTigers Editor Marjorie Coughlan wrote in her review of Tomo :
Many of the contributors’ names … may already be familiar to readers; others …will be less so, though famous in Japan. A great deal of Tomo’s success lies in its blend of expertly translated older stories with contemporary, new writing, and this is true also of the stories’ content. Many modern Japanese phenomena colour the stories, … yet these sit easily alongside more traditional stories. The anthology is all the richer for its varied array of writing, and its success is also in a great part due to the skill of the different translators involved. The excellent Tomo blog also contains interviews with the contributors and offers readers further insight into Japanese culture.
Exciting news from Holly Thompson is that Tomo now has a Reader’s Guide which can be downloaded as a PDF file by clicking here. Included in the Reader’s Guide are author and translator interviews, writing activities (creative writing, translation and academic writing) and discussion questions, both general and story by story, to accompany the Tomo anthology.
More exciting news is that Tomo contributor, illustrator and author Debbie Ridpath Ohi, was interviewed in the March 2013 issue of OWL Kids magazine about her involvement with Tomo as well as her work with the organization Toronto To Japan . Plus her artwork is featured in the header of the article! (Click here to see PaperTigers’ recent interview with Debbie and a gallery of her illustrations).
And there’s more! This month Part 1 of Marji Napper‘s short story “The Lost Property Office” which is published in Tomo appears in Cricket Magazine, with full color illustrations. Also featured in this issue, “a Japanese delight” according to the editors, are other stories stories related to Japan, so if you can get your hands on a copy of the magazine do have a look.