Educators, thank you for your interest in my website. I offer school visits onsite or through Skype for grades 3 through 7 on several different topics. My presentations are interactive and involve discussions with the students. When I write a short story with them, they wave their arms frantically to get called.
I visited schools in Hawaii at the end of 2016. My presentations covered the topics below. See photos from the visit under the Blog section.
Prejudice and Bullying:
Most students do not understand what it’s like to be a minority or how it feels to be an outcast. I do. After my move to the United States from Japan at the age of 8, I experienced something new: Prejudice. I was called Jap, Nip, Chink, Slant-Eye, and other creative names. When I became a teenager, boys told me that they wouldn’t date a Japanese. Some people refused to sell their house to my family. My brother and I couldn't couldn't get waited on to buy Christmas presents. Let’s eradicate bigotry!
Prejudice and bullying are the themes in my book, AYUMI'S VIOLIN. I use my personal experiences and AYUMI'S VIOLIN to discuss these topics.
In my visit, kids will learn to respect those different from them and the art of Origami. Without prejudice, there would be less conflict and more peace. The time to start is when they are young.
Propaganda and Negotiation:
Propaganda and negotiation are the themes In my book, ACCIDENTAL SAMURAI SPY. Set in 1863, when Aritomo, heir to a samurai lord, is forced to live in the enemy's castle disguised as an orphaned commoner, he learns that the horrible stories he had heard about the enemy were not true. They were people just like him. After becoming friends with them, he must stop the war between his clan and the enemy clan by negotiation.
Using this book, I discuss how to avoid conflict.
Passion gives thrill to life. What passions do students have? How are they chasing them?
Learn Japanese and its Culture:
Does your school have an exchange program with a school in Japan? Is anyone in your school leading a trip to Japan? Is a Japanese student enrolling in your school? I have worked with an exchange program between an American and a Japanese school through Sister City. I have taught English to Japanese. I have taught Japanese to Americans. I can teach Japanese and etiquette to children or adults. Please email me with special requests.
Please contact me through my for further details.
I welcome comments and suggestions on what your students would like to learn about Japan.
Mariko [Tatsumoto] has been an invaluable resource, leading several programs for our library... She met with our Teen Book Club [and] the participants greatly enjoyed [it].[The kids] loved being able to ask questions and hear from the author herself. She also led a basic lesson on Japanese language and culture for our monthly Otaku Club. And most recently, she led a workshop for tweens (grades 4-8) on writing a good story. At each event, she was enthusiastic and engaging. Participants in all programs left excited and motivated to learn more. --Claire Spence, Teen Services Librarian, Ruby M. Sisson Library
I just finished reading the book Ayumi's Violin…to my sixth graders. Since the book takes place in 1959, students learned about Japanese culture as well as the themes of passion and prejudice post World War II… [Tatsumoto] is very lively and fun to listen to. It was easy to see how passionate she is about writing. My students enjoyed Ayumi's Violin, and the author visit had them buzzing! --Donna Kirby