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Beyond Me

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In the spirit of A Place to Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference. March 11, 2011 An earthquake shakes Japan to its core. A tsunami crashes into Japan’s coast. Everything changes. In the after In the spirit of A Place to Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference. March 11, 2011 An earthquake shakes Japan to its core. A tsunami crashes into Japan’s coast. Everything changes. In the aftermath of the natural disasters that have struck her country, eleven-year-old Maya is luckier than many. Her family didn’t lose their home, their lives, or each other. But Maya still can’t help feeling paralyzed with terror, and each aftershock that ripples out in the days that follow makes her fear all over again that her luck could change in an instant. As word of the devastation elsewhere grows increasingly grim—tens of thousands have perished—it all seems so huge, so irreparable. Already flinching at every rumble from the earth, Maya’s overcome with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. How can her country ever recover, and how could anything she does possibly make a difference? Before Maya can extend a hand to others, she must dig deep to find the hidden well of strength in herself in this sweeping, searing novel that shows even small acts can add something greater and help people and communities heal.


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In the spirit of A Place to Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference. March 11, 2011 An earthquake shakes Japan to its core. A tsunami crashes into Japan’s coast. Everything changes. In the after In the spirit of A Place to Belong, this remarkable novel-in-verse examines the aftershocks of the earthquake and tsunami that devastated Japan in 2011 through the eyes of a young girl who learns that even the smallest kindness can make a difference. March 11, 2011 An earthquake shakes Japan to its core. A tsunami crashes into Japan’s coast. Everything changes. In the aftermath of the natural disasters that have struck her country, eleven-year-old Maya is luckier than many. Her family didn’t lose their home, their lives, or each other. But Maya still can’t help feeling paralyzed with terror, and each aftershock that ripples out in the days that follow makes her fear all over again that her luck could change in an instant. As word of the devastation elsewhere grows increasingly grim—tens of thousands have perished—it all seems so huge, so irreparable. Already flinching at every rumble from the earth, Maya’s overcome with a sense of helplessness and hopelessness. How can her country ever recover, and how could anything she does possibly make a difference? Before Maya can extend a hand to others, she must dig deep to find the hidden well of strength in herself in this sweeping, searing novel that shows even small acts can add something greater and help people and communities heal.

30 review for Beyond Me

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lesley

    On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake, the strongest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history, shook northeastern Japan, unleashing a savage tsunami. More than 5,000 aftershocks hit Japan in the year after the earthquake. The tsunami caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant resulting in the release of radioactive materials. (LiveScience.com and National Geographic.org) Beyond Me is one story of this tragedy. Fifth-grader Maya lives in Japan w On March 11, 2011, a magnitude-9 earthquake, the strongest earthquake in Japan’s recorded history, shook northeastern Japan, unleashing a savage tsunami. More than 5,000 aftershocks hit Japan in the year after the earthquake. The tsunami caused the meltdown of three nuclear reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant resulting in the release of radioactive materials. (LiveScience.com and National Geographic.org) Beyond Me is one story of this tragedy. Fifth-grader Maya lives in Japan with her American mother and Japanese father, grandmother, and great grandfather. On March 9, 2011, at the end of their school year, her class feels an earthquake, different from earthquakes they have experienced before. On March 11th at 7:44am the “earth shudders.” Beginning at 2:46pm an earthquake struck the eastern coast “so strong it pushed Japan’s main island eastward, created a massive tsunami, and slashed the eastern coastline in size.” (89) And even though Maya’s family lives miles from the tsunami, they are affected, and Maya is terrified. She chronicles the 24 days after the earthquake, sometimes minute by minute, as she shares her thoughts and feelings over what is happening in her house, her town, and, through the news, the people of Northeast Japan. The house shakes, food is rationed, and transportation has stopped, but she and her family are safe. Readers see Maya overcome her fears and reach out with her mother and father to help those most affected by the disaster. She and Yuka fold paper cranes and ask for sunflowers seeds to plant, and Maya writes notes to the “People of the Northeast.” Maya continues journaling for 113 days after she and her best friend plant sunflower seeds on her grandparents’ farm, strengthening and helping to heal Earth as the mug she put back together with lacquer and gold dust. Through free verse, timelines, and creative word placements readers take this journey with Maya as they learn a lot about nature and the effects of earthquakes. This book would pair nicely with Leza Lowitz’s Up from the Sea, a verse novel that focuses on the story of one town and one boy directly affected by the tsunami.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kristy

    I just got an arc of this book. Wonderful novel in verse! My 10 year old loved it too. I may even by it for my high school library collection.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Nessa

    "Will Earth stop shaking?" "Will radiation ever go away?" These are some of the scary and thoughtful questions the main character, Maya, asks in this nicely written prose book. It is set during The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011. Maya lives with her parents, grandma, and great-grandfather. They experience the first big earthquake and the aftershocks to comes in the next few months. Maya writes to us daily in her journal when a quake or aftershock happens. She marks eac "Will Earth stop shaking?" "Will radiation ever go away?" These are some of the scary and thoughtful questions the main character, Maya, asks in this nicely written prose book. It is set during The Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami on March 11, 2011. Maya lives with her parents, grandma, and great-grandfather. They experience the first big earthquake and the aftershocks to comes in the next few months. Maya writes to us daily in her journal when a quake or aftershock happens. She marks each one with a timestamp as she rocks and sways with the earth. As our main characters struggle to become stronger to help others, her father tells her to, "strengthen herself". This stays with her and she finds ways of concurring her fear. She begins by farming with her great-grandfather. Follow Maya on her beautiful growth during an uncertain and difficult time.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    One of Those Prose Poetry Novels I wish I could believe these prose poetry books are works of art but I can’t help believing it’s more about low readability or Lexile numbers. The subject is the massive earthquake and tsunami in which the nuclear power plant was severely damaged. A young girl worries about her friend who lives in the North where the earthquake’s epicenter was. I really think a full story written clearly and telling a full story using sentence and deep thoughts would be appreciate One of Those Prose Poetry Novels I wish I could believe these prose poetry books are works of art but I can’t help believing it’s more about low readability or Lexile numbers. The subject is the massive earthquake and tsunami in which the nuclear power plant was severely damaged. A young girl worries about her friend who lives in the North where the earthquake’s epicenter was. I really think a full story written clearly and telling a full story using sentence and deep thoughts would be appreciated and welcomed by young readers. The format in this book is less interesting and meaningful.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ellen

    I thought this was a very well-written book in verse. I liked the formatting especially, where every aftershock felt after the 2011 earthquake in Japan is marked in a timeline on the sides of the pages, so you can almost feel the shocks as the character speaks. If you've ever experienced a strong earthquake, you can definitely understand all the feelings the character goes through. It wasn't as exciting a book as I had imagined it would be, considering the topic, because the characters are a bit I thought this was a very well-written book in verse. I liked the formatting especially, where every aftershock felt after the 2011 earthquake in Japan is marked in a timeline on the sides of the pages, so you can almost feel the shocks as the character speaks. If you've ever experienced a strong earthquake, you can definitely understand all the feelings the character goes through. It wasn't as exciting a book as I had imagined it would be, considering the topic, because the characters are a bit outside the main impact zone. Still, the book represents less the feelings of those suffering the most and more those dealing with the stress and fear after disasters like this one.

  6. 5 out of 5

    S

    Nothing like a pandemic to highlight the slow horror of a natural disaster. This book, despite being about a major earthquake/nuclear issue, is very undramatic because if you're living on the outside of such things - you're impacted just not in the "Ah! I lost a limb/house/life!" way. It is interesting if you have the outside context for it but rather slow and slice of life-ish if you don't have that in your pocket.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Kip

    What a beautiful book! Such a stressful time to live in Japan for a child. The timeline (counting minutes at times) and the formatting of the text really bring the situation to life for the reader, and the verse is just lovely. My twelve-year-old and I both loved it!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Heather Layne

    A story told through poems, so a very quick read. Not right in the middle of the tsunami disaster, but close enough to it to be affected, in a number of ways.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Megan Henriksen

    3.5*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    4th/5th grade and up

  11. 5 out of 5

    Richard Gemperline

  12. 5 out of 5

    Joe

  13. 4 out of 5

    Christina

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jessie

  15. 5 out of 5

    Morgan

  16. 5 out of 5

    Melanie

  17. 5 out of 5

    Maryann

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa Richards

  19. 4 out of 5

    Julie Williams

  20. 5 out of 5

    Boni

  21. 4 out of 5

    Katlin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Liv Worthen

  23. 5 out of 5

    jo henning

  24. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  25. 4 out of 5

    Juli

  26. 4 out of 5

    Liz Lowe

  27. 4 out of 5

    Vicki

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Vosen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Teresa

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ardem

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