Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Glorian Whelan's K is for Kabuki

by Tanya Fox

The Clarke Historical Library has a large collection of children’s books. Michigan author Gloria Whelan is one of the writers whose works we have enthusiastically collected. K is for Kabuki : a Japan Alphabet (2009, Sleeping Bear Press) is just one of Gloria Whelan’s books found in the Clarke. Jennifer Nolan is a joint author and the illustrations are by Oki S. Han. Ms. Whelan and Ms. Han are award winners for separate works and the joint effort they share in K is for Kabuki clearly showcases their respective talents.

The book is visually remarkable filled with images of Japan and the traditions, culture and history that can be found there. The text includes short poems with each alphabet letter as well as information relating to the alphabet image. One example is “B” for Japan’s bullet train. A poem is included along with historical information about the Shinkansen (bullet train).

     B is for Bullet Train
     The train passes the rabbit and deer;
     the train passes the falcon and crow.
     Riders from Mutsu to Mito
     praise Shima the engineer.

Hideo Shima was the engineer who designed the bullet train. This format of poetic imagery with facts makes the book all the more interesting and enjoyable. The book also includes a glossary of Japanese words with pronunciations.

As a special note, Gloria Whelan will be a guest speaker of the Clarke on Wednesday, April 3rd. Her appearance is free and open to the public and will be held at 7:00 p.m. in the Park Library auditorium with a reception to follow in the Clarke. If you would like to read more about Gloria Whelan, her website can be found at http://www.gloriawhelan.com/

We invite you to visit the Clarke Historical Library, on the first floor of CMU’s Park Library, where you may peruse K is for Kabuki, other Gloria Whelan books, and a myriad of other delightful, interesting, historical, and informative items. To find our hours of operation and other library information you may want to visit our website at http://clarke.cmich.edu/ .