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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Temple Alley Summer
by Sachiko Kashiwaba
Age Range: 9-11
Kazu is not sure if heís been dreaming or seen a ghost when a girl in a white kimono sneaks out of his house in the middle of the night. The next day at school Kazu sees the same girl sitting in his classroom and, what is even more strange, all his classmates appear to know this ghost-girl called Akari even though Kazu does not remember ever seeing her before. If that wasnít weird enough, Kazu discovers from looking at an old map of 1913 at school that his house is on the exact location of an ancient temple called Kimyō.
Deciding to investigate the Kimyō Temple for his summer project Kazu attracts the unwanted attention of his mysterious neighbour Ms Minakami, her scary and watchful cat Kiriko and his secretive new classmate Akari. Kazu discovers that Kimyo Temple is linked to a long-forgotten legend about bringing the dead to life, so could this explain Akariís sudden appearance? Kazu and Akari must join forces to find and protect the source of the templeís power and an unfinished story in a magazine from Akariís youth could hold the key.
This imaginative and multi-layered story from renowned Japanese childrenís author Sachiko Kashiwaba, skilfully translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa, combines eerie suspense with the narrative humour provided by the main protagonist. It is full of twists and turns as it moves between the present and the past effortlessly. Kazuís chatty narrative is delivered in a manga-style while the trip back to the past presents a fable-like quality in the relaying of an unfinished story that enraptures both Kazu and Akari. As Kazu searches for answers Kashiwaba deftly shows how he is taken out of his comfort zone when faced with contemplating the deeper questions on death and mortality.
An exciting supernatural adventure, with expressive black and white illustrations from award-winning Japanese illustrator Miho Satake, that will have the reader hooked from the very first page as it explores the power of friendship in a world where the dead come back to life.
Winner of the Mildred Bachelder Award 2022