Japan continues to struggle to deal with the recent earthquakes, tsunamis, and the threat of radiation from nuclear power plants. Compiled below is a list of resources to help students understand what is going on in Japan. Included are curriculum materials and children’s books on the topics of earthquakes, nuclear power, and tsunamis. Also listed are informative books about Japan as well as fictional stories set in Japan. These resources are aimed at elementary school students. For books for older readers, browse near the same call number locations, but select more in-depth resources.

Curriculum Materials

Fredericks, Anthony D.
Investigating Natural Disasters through Children’s Literature: an Integrated Approach. 2001.
Tap into students’ inherent awe of storms, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, avalanches, landslides, and tsunamis to open their minds to the wonders and power of the natural world. Using quality children’s literature, this guide extends the understanding of science concepts through short activities, longer projects, and adventures. Students can use the literature and activities to better understand the forces of nature and to grasp the implications of that potency on the lives of people near and far.
[Education Curriculum CURR. 904.5 TEAIP2001]

Reilly, Kathleen M.
Energy: Investigate Why We Need Power & How We Get It: 25 Projects. 2009.
Giving kids 9-12 years old a hands-on opportunity to see energy in action, these 25 projects are an introduction to the ways power affects both world politics and everyday lives. This book covers information about what energy really is, where it comes from, and its alternative sources. Chapter 7 deals with nuclear power.
[Education Curriculum TEXT. 621.042 NOMAD2009]


Colson, Mary.
Shaky Ground: Earthquakes. 2005.
Without notice, Earth’s surface can change drastically and dramatically. In this book, readers confront the physical and social impact of earthquakes and their aftermath. Included is a survival guide with survival tips and precautions.
[Education S Collection S.551.22 C719s]

Harrison, David L.
Earthquakes: Earth’s Mightiest Moments. 2004.
With easy-to-understand language and bold illustrations, this introduction to earthquakes explains how the earth is made and why its surface sometimes quivers and shakes.
[Education S Collection S.551.22 H245e]

Walker, Jane.
Earthquakes. 2005.
Walker discusses how earthquakes begin, the destruction they cause, and how scientists measure and predict them.
[Education S Collection Q. S.551.22 W152e]

Nuclear Power

Ball, Jackie et al.
Nuclear Energy. 2003.
Nuclear energy is powerful and dangerous. Nuclear energy can be terribly destructive, but we have developed ways to harness its technology for other purposes, such as providing a power source and a way to diagnose and battle disease. This book by the Discovery Channel takes a close look at the origins and implications of nuclear energy.
[Education Storage S.333.7924 N883]

Wheeler, Jill C.
Nuclear Power. 2008.
Provides an opportunity to explore the background, pros and cons, and future of our planet’s energy resources with nuclear power.
[Education S Collection S.621.48 W561n]


Morris, Ann and Heidi Larson.
Tsunami: Helping Each Other. 2005.
This book tells the story of a family in Thailand before and after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. It discusses the family’s experience during the storm and the chaos immediately following. The focus is on what life was like immediately after the disaster: coping with loss; the availability of food, shelter, and clothing; post-flood disease control; and the children’s attempts at re-entry into elementary school life.
[Education S Collection S.959.304 M831t]

Spilsbury, Louise and Richard.
Sweeping Tsunamis. 2003.
Through case studies from around the world, this book emphasizes the impact of tsunamis on people, the role of emergency services, and the works of scientists in forecasting and preventing future tragedies. Each disaster is also explored in the context of a larger natural system or process. Japan’s 1993 tsunami is explored.
[Education S Collection S.363.349 Sp45s]

Walker, Niki.
Tsunami Alert! 2006.
In this book, young readers will learn about: the science of waves; destruction of the shoreline, secondary hazards such as flooding, contaminated drinking water, and the spread of dangerous diseases; cleanup and the rebuilding of communities — including costs and help from the international community; forecasting a tsunami; survivor stories; and aid agencies such as the Red Cross and FEMA.
[Education S Collection S.551.4637 W153t]

Nonfiction about Japan

Bryan, Nichol.
Japanese Americans. 2004.
Provides information on the history of Japan and on the customs, language, religion, and experiences of Japanese Americans.
[Education S Collection S.973 B8407j]

March, Michael.
Japan. 2004.
Learn about the exciting land of Japan by reading about its people, resources and industry, sports and leisure activities, daily life, arts and media, government, and its place in the world today.
[Education S Collection S.952 M331j]

Parker, Victoria.
We’re From Japan. 2005.
Students can find out what school and home life is like for children in Japan. This book follows local children through their daily lives while introducing some of the country’s distinguishing features.
[Education Storage S.952.04 P229j]

Phillips, Charles.
Japan. 2007.
National Geographic requests the pleasure of your company on a journey to the faraway island nation of Japan. This book includes a basic overview of the history, geography, climate and culture of Japan.
[Education S Collection S.952 P541j]

Richardson, Hazel.
Life in Ancient Japan. 2005.
This fascinating new book describes how Japan grew from rule by local chieftains to an emperor-led nation with many noble families competing for prominence. Beautiful spreads and full-color photographs unveil Japan’s rich history.
[Education Storage Q. S.952 R394l]

Roop, Peter and Connie.
A Visit to Japan. 2008.
What is Japan’s most famous mountain called? Why do the Japanese add one year to their age? What is Japan’s national sport? Find out what Japanese children learn in school and what they might do when they are older. See if they play the same sports as you or wear the same kind of clothes. Learn some words in Japanese!
[Education S Collection S.952 R675v]

Fiction set in Japan

McCully, Emily Arnold.
Manjiro: The Boy Who Risked His Life for Two Countries. 2008.
In 1841, Japan had been closed to the outside world for 250 years and anyone who tried to return to the country after leaving it could be executed. After becoming shipwrecked and rescued by an American whaling ship, Manjiro is welcomed to America but dreams about returning to Japan to see his mother. This is the true story of a young man whose intimate knowledge of two cultures later led him to play an important role in the opening of Japan to Western trade and ideas.
[Education S Collection Q.SB. N145mcc]

Say, Allen.
Kamishibai Man. 2005.
The Kamishibai man used to ride his bicycle into town where he would tell stories to the children and sell them candy, but gradually, fewer and fewer children came running at the sound of his clappers. They were all watching their new televisions instead. Years later, the Kamishibai man and his wife made another batch of candy, and he pedaled into town to tell one more story — his own. Allen Say tells a tale within a tale, transporting readers seamlessly to the Japan of his memories.
[Center for Children’s Books S. Sa991k]

Watanabe, Etsuko.
My Japan. 2009.
7-year-old Yumi shows what his life is like in the suburbs of Tokyo. From a typical bedroom and bathroom (two different kinds of toilets) to a typical day in school (the students are responsible for cleaning it), these snapshots of Japan are informative and interesting, presenting the questions and answers about the topics kids are curious about. Writing, Japanese holidays and customs, transportation, and festivals are all included.
[Center for Children’s Books S. W29m:E]