(middle-grade to YA reading level - some middle-grade students will struggle with interpreting the text)
This is a unique take on trauma associated with a disaster. The main character, Kai, is literally swept up in a tsunami in Japan. Lowitz witnessed the tsunami firsthand and the urgency and fear are captured well through the poetic stanza format. Although this book mainly discussed the tsunami that struck Japan in 2011, it connects to 9/11 because the main character ends up visiting Ground Zero during the tenth anniversary and meeting with his estranged father in NYC.
Although the poetry proves a quick read, students should have some knowledge or interests in Japanese culture. Otherwise, they will become confounded by the many references.
From the publisher,
“A powerful novel-in-verse about how one teen boy survives the March 2011 tsunami that devastates his coastal Japanese village.
“Successfully captures the raw emotions of loss, grief, and what it means to move forward.” —BuzzFeed
On the day the tsunami strikes, Kai loses nearly everyone and everything he cares about. But a trip to New York to meet kids whose lives were changed by 9/11 gives him new hope and the chance to look for his estranged American father. Visiting Ground Zero on its tenth anniversary, Kai learns that the only way to make something good come out of disaster is to return and rebuild.
Heartrending yet hopeful, Up from the Sea is a story about loss, survival, and starting anew.”