The Tsunami Quilt: Grandfather’s Story
Anthony D. Frederick’s
Illustrated by Tammy Yee
Picture Book (Series)
Ages 6 to 8
Sleeping Bear Press, 2007, 1-58536-313-8
When he was little a boy and his grandfather shared many good times. They also shared special times. Every spring his grandmother would make a special lei for his grandfather to wear and the together they would go to a Laupahoehoe Point where the boy and his grandfather would walk along the ocean and quietly look at an old marble monument. Grandfather would place the lei on the monument and he would look sadly out to sea.
Soon after the boy has his ninth birthday his Grandfather died and his father decided that it was time to tell his son what those visits to the monument were all about. He was told how long ago, before he was born, there used to be a school near where the monument now stood. One April day, when Grandfather was a student at that school, the children saw that the ocean has disappeared in the cove below the school. It had simply rolled out to vast ocean beyond. Of course most of the students went down to the cove to investigate, including Grandfather’s little brother. Then the ocean began to roll back in with a powerful big surge. It receded once more. And then surged back. Then the third wave poured in and this time the wave was enormous, “as high as the lighthouse on the point.” This was a tsunami wave and it destroyed everything in its path. Because the boy’s grandfather was above the beach, he was able to get to safety but many people were not so lucky, including his little brother.
The boy’s father then takes his son to the Pacific Tsunami Museum and here the boy sees a quilt which was made as a memorial to the twenty four students and faculty who lost their lives in the April 1st, 1946 tsunami at Laupahoehoe Point.
As they read this story young readers will see how traditions of a singular kind can be handed down through the generations. In this case the grandson will continue to remember and honor the memory of those who died in that long ago tsunami. Because of his grandfather he learns about a tragic event in Hawaiian history.
Written with great pathos and warmth, the author of this book not only tells the story of a historic event but he also shows his readers how close the grandson and his grandfather are. We are able to see that this is a closeness that the grandson will continue to respect and remember even after his grandfather is gone.
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