While I Was Away Audiobook, by Waka T. Brown Play Audiobook Sample

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While I Was Away Audiobook, by Waka T. Brown Play Audiobook Sample
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Author: Waka T. Brown Narrator: Chieko Hidaka Publisher: Quill Tree Books Audio Length: Release Date: January 2021 Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download ISBN: 9780063017146

Publisher Description

The Farewell meets Erin Entrada Kelly's Blackbird Fly in this empowering middle grade memoir from debut author Waka T. Brown, who takes readers on a journey to 1980s Japan, where she was sent as a child to reconnect to her family’s roots.

When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime.

In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider.

If she’s always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America but is now the “dumb foreigner” in Japan, where is home...and who will Waka be when she finds it?

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Quotes

  • “Conversational and accessible. An emotional, contemplative tale of risking and growing.”

    - Kirkus Reviews
  • “Explores having one foot in two cultures in an age-appropriate memoir…while stressing that what makes things different is also what makes them unique.”

    - Publishers Weekly
  • "[An] engaging memoir.”

    - Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

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About the Author

Waka T. Brown was the first American born in her family. She is a Stanford University graduate with a master’s degree in secondary education. She is an instructor at the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education, authoring curriculum on several international topics and winning the Association for Asian Studies’ national Franklin Buchanan Prize. She has also won the US–Japan Foundation and EngageAsia’s national 2019 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher award for her groundbreaking endeavors in teaching about US–Japan relations to high school students in Japan and promoting cultural exchange awareness. While I Was Away is her debut book.