Posts Tagged ‘Sakura Medal’

Book Review by Ms. Noll: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

October 29, 2015 Leave a comment


A package came in the mail for my son recently. He was over the moon. A new pair of wireless Bluetooth earbuds. As he showed me how they work, I marvelled at the idea that music and voices can travel invisibly, inaudibly from the phone on his study desk, past the genkan, down the hall, through my kitchen and into his smiling little mind. It’s a wonder, really. Mostly I use devices now without wonder. It felt good to wonder with my son—as Anthony Doerr must have felt the wonder of Werner Pfennig’s joy in radio waves. Wonder is what Doerr makes you feel about this 1930s and 40s technology that drove military strategies in World War II and that drives plot lines in his novel All the Light We Cannot See.

Werner’s fierce and delicate intelligence at age seven untangles radio wires and waves—at first for the magic of it, later for the science of it, then for the cakes he gets as a reward for solving German war problems. Eventually his talent becomes a ticket out of the orphanage and into a sparkling, innocent hope for his future. As we watch, we know the war and its Hitler Youth will crush this delicate boy’s innocence, but we trust in the survival of his talent. And we wait to see how he will use it for some good.

This novel has two story lines: Werner’s and the story of a blind French girl, Marie- Laure, roughly Werner’s age whose father is a lock master at the Natural History Museum in Paris. A dastardly diamond from the museum, carried through the war’s chaos in coat pockets and miniature lock-boxes, creates the magnetic force which eventually allows Werner’s story to intersect with Marie-Laure’s. But not without a Nazi in pursuit of the gem’s healing power. The climax takes place in a seaside French town where waves of the personal, the political and the historical crash against literal ramparts. I don’t remember the last time I read a book which uses the word “ramparts” in so many chapters and to such defensible ends.

Doerr’s prose can be as fierce and delicate as Werner himself, rich in sensory detail. But his shifting time frames were confusing to me. I often flipped back to section or chapter headings just to get myself oriented. Perhaps such puzzling is Doerr’s way of leading us through the awful wonder and mystery that happens in war, all the way holding firm to the hands of a blind girl and an orphan boy.

All the Light We Cannot See is a 2016 Sakura Medal contender and one of the novels being read in the High School Book Club.

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9th Grade – Speed Dating with Books and Library Orientations

September 3, 2015 Leave a comment

The 9th grade students have visited the library twice in the past few days. The first time was to get acquainted with some great books, such as our new Sakura Medal titles and books recommended by the library staff. They sat in circles and spent one minute each with five books. Then they discussed the five books with the others in their circle. The second visit was a library orientation. The students worked in teams to discover information about both the physical and virtual library and then presented what they had learned to the rest of the class. Topics covered included the Online Databases, the Citation and Creative Commons Guide, the Destiny Library Catalog, the Sakura Medal Program, the fiction genres in the library, the Tech Help Desk, and rules around borrowing computer chargers, books, Kindles, iPads and other library materials.

Speed Dating with Books

Speed Dating with Books

9th Grade Library Orientation

9th Grade Library Orientation


ASIJ HS Sakura Medal Art Semifinalists

April 16, 2015 Leave a comment

Congratulations to Maya C, Paris K, Emma K, Anna L., Marika A, and Erina Y!  Their work was selected by a panel of judges to be ASIJ’s submissions to the Sakura Medal 2015 Art Competition in the HS English and HS Japanese categories.

You can see the submissions from all the schools participating in the art competition on the HS library website.

Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony and Prize Drawing on May 4.

We wish our ASIJ contestants the best of luck!

The Sakura Medal 2013 Art Winners

2013 Art Winners 

English Picture Book # 8
St. Mary’s International School

Japanese Picture Book # 9
International School of the Sacred Heart

English Chapter Book # 4

St. Mary’s International School

Japanese Chapter Book #5

Doshisha International School, Kyoto

English Middle School  # 7
St. Mary’s International School


Japanese Middle School #1

St. Mary’s International School

English High School #4
The American School in Japan


Japanese High School # 1

K International School

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The Sakura Medal 2013 Winners!

English Picture Book 

E-mergency!  by Tom Lichtenheld



English Chapter Book 

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

English Middle School Book 

Legend by Marie Lu

English High School Book (Tie)

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline 


Japanese Picture Book

地球をほる (Chikyu wo Horu) by  川端誠(Kawabata, Makoto)   


Chapter Book (Tie)

あけちゃダメ! (Akecha Dame!) by  小川英子
by (Ogawa Hideko)




一円大王さま (Ichienn Daiou Sama) by すとうあさえ
by(Suto Asae)


Japanese Middle School Book

ぼくらのメリークリスマス (Bokura no Merii Kurisumasu )
by  宗田理  (Souda Osamu)

Japanese High School Book 

(Biburia Koshodoo no Jiken Techoo – Shioriko-san to Kimyou na Kyakujin Tachi)    by  三上延(Mikami En) 

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