Thompson, Holly. Falling into the Dragon’s Mouth. Henry Holt and Company, 2016. 243 pgs. Includes glossary. $17.99. ISBN: 978-1-62779-134-2. Gr. 6+. P8 Q8
When my daughter went to France as an exchange student I sobbed my eyes out. Did I have worries? Of course but nothing that I could not overcome so that her dream could come true. Jason Parker is only in the 6th grade the year his family moves to Japan. He attends a Japanese public school rather than a private one as his parents could not afford it. He is bullied at this school and his teachers look the other way when it happens. Thank God, I did not read this book before my daughter left. Written in verse, you feel Parker’s apprehension about having to face the bully. He goes out of his way to avoid him and his friends. Steeped in Japanese culture the reader gets a sample of what life is like in Japan.
Verdict: the outcome of the book teaches the people of the school and Parker family that students who bully others can have devastating results.
November 2016 review by Carol Bernardi.