The garden is a world filled with secrets. Slowly, I see more each day. The black pines twist and turn to form graceful shapes, while the moss is a carpet of green that invites you to sit by the pond. Even the stone lanterns, which dimly light the way at night, allow you to see only so much.
It's summer! Finally. I began my summer by revisiting an old favorite, The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama. I chose this first read, because by the time school is out, I'm wired so tightly that I need a little Zen meditation. That's what this gorgeously written story does for me.
It tells the story of Stephen Chan, a 20-year-old Chinese student who leaves school in Canton to recuperate from tuberculosis at his family's beach house in Tarumi, Japan. Once there, he meets Matsu, the gruff caretaker whose family has served Stephen's family for generations. Behind his abrupt exterior, Matsu has the heart of a Samurai. As Matsu and Sachi's heartbreaking stories unfold, Stephen heals. The novel is set during the 1930s, with mounting tensions as Japan invades China.
Each week, over the next month, my podcast group and I will be discussing fabulous pleasure reads for teachers and offering fun freebies that accompany the books. The Samurai's Garden is our first recommendation. Before you listen to our podcasts, be sure to read the books, because there are spoilers! These are some of the questions we discussed...
Be sure to check out my featured freebie for our We Teach So Hard listeners. The gorgeous quotation cards will keep you Zen throughout the year. Click the picture below to access.
Once you've read the book, listen to our book discussion on the WE TEACH SO HARD podcast. Just click the picture below to listen.