Tomo (meaning “friend” in Japanese) is an anthology of young adult short fiction in prose, verse and graphic art set in or related to Japan. This collection for readers age 12 and up features thirty-six stories—including ten in translation and two graphic narratives—contributed by authors and artists from around the world, all of whom share a connection to Japan. English-language readers will be able to connect with Japan through a wide variety of unique stories, including tales of friendship, mystery, fantasy, science fiction and history.
By sharing “friendship through fiction,” Tomo aims to bring Japan stories to readers worldwide, and in doing so, to help support young people affected or displaced by the March 11, 2011 Japan earthquake and tsunami disasters. Proceeds from the sales of this book go directly toward long-term relief efforts for teens in Tohoku, the area most affected by the disasters, in the northeast region of Japan’s main island, Honshu. To begin with, Tomo fund donations will go to the Japan-based NPO Hope for Tomorrow (hope-tomorrow.jp), which in addition to providing educational expenses (including university entrance exam fees, travel costs to exam centers, etc.) also provides mentoring, tutoring, and foreign language support to high school students in hard-hit areas of Tohoku.
Edited and with a Foreword by Holly Thompson, Tomo contributing authors and artists include Andrew Fukuda (Crossing), Liza Dalby (The Tale of Murasaki), Tak Toyoshima (Secret Asian Man syndicated comic), Alan Gratz (The Brooklyn Nine), Wendy Nelson Tokunaga (Love in Translation), Deni Y. Béchard (Vandal Love), Debbie Ridpath Ohi (illustrator of I’m Bored), Graham Salisbury (Under the Blood-Red Sun), Naoko Awa (The Fox’s Window and Other Stories), Suzanne Kamata (The Beautiful One Has Come) and Shogo Oketani (J-Boys), among others.
Visit the Tomo blog at tomoanthology.blogspot.comto stay updated on book events, read interviews with the contributors, learn how proceeds from the sales of the book will be used to help teens in Japan and more.
"A big but consistently engaging pro bono anthology of authors with direct or indirect Japanese 'heritage or experience.' A broadly appealing mix of the tragic and droll, comforting, disturbing, exotic and universal, with nary a clinker in the bunch." --Kirkus Reviews
"Tomo is an excellent story collection, presenting a rich and varied immersion in Japanese culture from a teen perspective." --VOYA (print only)
"With slices of Japanese language, folklore, history, popular culture, and other ethnic references, Tomo, which means friend in Japanese,offers a unique and wide-ranging taste of Japanese life." --Booklist (print only)
"The thirty-six stories. . . cover a wide range of genres (prose, verse, graphic narratives) and feature nine stories translated from the Japanese. With the exception of Graham Salisbury and Alan Gratz, most of the authors, many of whom write for adults, will be new to American teens." --The Horn Book, Out of the Box
"The stories in Tomo, "friend" in Japanese, resonate beyond the confines of tragedy in the Tohoku region to reflect a generation who will grow up indelibly marked but not defeated by 3/11...There is sadness and suicide, loss and, yes, the tsunami. But these stories equally cover everything important to the younger generation as entrance exams, ghosts, J-pop, love, divorce, baseball, gamers, ninjas and dragons coordinate to form a whole." --The Japan Times
"This collection of short stories and poems about Japanese teens is weird and wonderful, studded with the unique color of Japanese teen pop culture, as well as the impact of defining events from the twenty-first century to the present: Pearl Harbor, Hiroshima, the tsunami, earthquake and nuclear disaster . . . . There's something fabulously specific about the pop culture references that can make reading Tomo: Friendship through Fiction feel like a virtual tour of Japan." --Barnes and Noble Review
"These 36 unique, heartwarming tales allow readers to feel Japan and its culture, as well as identify with the characters and their experiences during the sensitive teen years and the struggle to belong and to mature. From historical times to modern day, from traditions to current pop culture, from countryside to big city, from the country of Japan to Japanese communities around the world, these stories can also connect English-language readers with the heart of Japan." --Chopsticks NY
"The teen protagonists are written with sympathy and intuition, and the stories are all executed with confidence. . . . this collection was divided into ones I liked, and ones I liked more." --Asian Review of Books
"A well chosen and satisfying collection and teachers will find a wealth of stories here which help students to better understand Japan." --Austral Ed Book News
"Tomo crosses genres, and it crosses genres in more than one way. People should take note of the fact that the book is not divided up into stories that are prose, poetry, or stories that are made up of images. Prose is mixed with poetry, poetry is mixed up with graphic art..." --Dig Boston
"This collection of stories leaves the reader with an amazing sense of hope for the future of Japan....This is not only a great book commemorating the spirit of the Tohoku people, it is a darn good read, and the English book I would recommend first to anyone who wants to dip their toes into Japanese literature." --Perogies & Gyoza