The Phone Booth in Mr. Hirota's Garden

by Heather Smith and Rachel Wada

Each morning Makio spends time in Mr. Hirota’s garden, looking down to spot... read more

Each morning Makio spends time in Mr. Hirota’s garden, looking down to spot his dad and Mr. Hirota’s daughter working in the harbor far below. When a huge ocean tsunami roars in, Makio’s dad and many others are swept away. Furious at the ocean he once loved, Makio misses his father in silence, with no voice to express his pain. At first he’s confused when Mr. Hirota builds a phone booth that holds a disconnected telephone, but villagers use the booth to “talk” to those they lost and eventually Makio finds comfort in the same way. This fictional story is based on a phone booth in Otsuchi, Japan, that many people visited after the 2011 tsunami to feel connected to loved ones who died. Inspired by traditional Japanese techniques, striking illustrations in a subdued palette contribute to the story’s comforting affirmation that beauty exists, even during times of deep sadness. (Ages 5–9)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2020

show less