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Hiromi's Hands Hardcover – March 1, 2007


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 600L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books (March 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584302755
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584302759
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 9.4 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,166 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 3–This picture-book biography presents the lives of two sushi chefs: a father and daughter. Readers meet the adolescent Akira Suzuki as he strives to supplement his family's income by apprenticing in a Tokyo restaurant. They may be amazed by a career that consisted of scrubbing the floor for the first year, cooking rice for the second, and working long days for 10 years to realize a goal. The opportunity to pursue his dream in New York ultimately led to marriage, fatherhood, and the desire to share his heritage. Young Hiromi attended Japanese school on Saturdays and celebrated special days, but she especially wanted to learn her father's trade. Akira welcomed her interest–Girls can do things here that they cannot do in Japan–and the pattern of learning began again. Hiromi's achievement is celebrated in a spread of labeled, delicately arranged sushi. The story came full circle when the Tokyo restaurateur paid a visit and enjoyed his meal. Ink-and-watercolor scenes are rendered in salmon and grays; each childhood is captured in black-and-white snapshots. One odd choice, given the author's access to her subject, is the pseudo-Japanese in the signage, described as merely illustrative. An author's note and photograph of Hiromi Suzuki are followed by a pronunciation guide. An inspiring story of a young woman crossing a boundary, an informative glimpse into a career, and a study in perseverance, this title will appeal to a varied audience.–Wendy Lukehart, Washington DC Public Library
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Part upbeat, contemporary immigration story, this picture-book biography of one of the first female sushi chefs in New York City celebrates Hiromi Suzuki's Japanese American roots and her achievements in the U.S. The first-person narrative, accompanied by ink-and-watercolor art, begins with her father's life in Japan, including his long training as a sushi chef; his emigration to New York, where he opens his own restaurant; his marriage; and the birth of his beloved Hiromi. As a young girl, Hiromi learns about his work, and because "This is America. Girls can do things here," she undertakes years of tough apprenticeship and finally becomes a chef. From the lively double-page spread of the fish market to the small, delicious pictures of the many kinds of sushi Hiromi learns to make, this book celebrates the riches of cultural diversity. Hazel Rochman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

More About the Author

For as long as I can remember, drawing was what I did best. I hoped that art school would help me eventually find a way to use this. On the other hand, writing is something I never planned to do. Although I was an enthusiastic and indiscriminate reader from the time I was very young I never thought of writing as an occupation until my five year old daughter had an adventure. On her second day of For kindergarten she got on the wrong bus and went to the wrong school. After she was safe and sound again at home, I thought this would make a great story. And so, THE BUS FUSS was born. It was never published, but I was hooked.
Over the next several years many books followed. My ideas flooded in and came from people I knew. Everything I saw seemed to suggest another story.
RADIO RESCUE is the story of my father's ham radio days in 1920s New York City. My endless interviews with him gave me a window into his life that otherwise would not have been open.
HIROMI'S HANDS is the story of my daughter's childhood Japanese American friend whose father trained her to be a Sushi chef. I met Hiromi as an adorable, shy five year old child and came to know her well over the next eighteen years.
KNOCKIN' ON WOOD is the story of Peg Leg Bates. the one legged dancer. I first saw him on television on the Ed Sullivan show and wrote his story many years later after hearing my daughter's tap teacher talk about the great tappers he knew.
A COUNTRY SCHOOLHOUSE tells the story of my husband's school days in a three room schoolhouse in Dutchess country in the 1940s. I had listened to his amusing anecdotes about this for years and finally wrote them down.
Not all my stories are nonfiction. OLD FRIENDS is the story of an old lady who recognizes her childhood friend in the form of a dog. Sometime after writing this story, much to my surprise, I realized that the old lady was a perfect description of my own grandmother!
Telling stories and making pictures gives me great joy. When words and pictures work well together they form something new, something greater than the sum of its parts. I look forward to bringing many more stories to life in this way.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Yana V. Rodgers on March 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Akira Suzuki grew up in Japan in a rural household with seven siblings. He quickly understood the importance of money because his family had very little of it. Among his favorite activities were trips with his mother to the fishmonger; the mounds of fish enthralled him, and his mother's encouragement to become a sushi chef fueled his dreams. He ultimately did become a sushi chef in a Tokyo restaurant, but it took years of training and working twelve-hour days, with only one day off a month. Even longer work days followed when he moved to the restaurant's New York City location.

Years later, after Akira married and became a father, his daughter Hiromi insisted that he take her to the fish market. After all, her father worked so hard she almost never saw him, and something about the fish market intrigued her. What started as a love of spending time with him, learning about the best fish to buy, subsequently turned into a request that he teach her how to become a sushi chef. How would her father respond given that virtually all sushi chefs were men and traditional Japanese beliefs held that a woman's soft, warm hands would spoil the fish?

Hiromi's Hands is superb. Based on a true story, this book makes an excellent vehicle for teaching children about non-traditional career opportunities for women in the labor market. With closely intertwined lessons about work ethic and Japanese customs and carefully-researched illustrations, this book has enough interesting substance to appeal to a wide readership.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Anne B. Levy on February 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
A story about sushi? I'm all over it. Drrrooool. This is the true story of one of the first female sushi chefs, who just happened to be best friends with the author's daughter. Very cool.

Hiromi Suzuki narrates how she followed in her father's footsteps, learning the ancient art at his side in his restaurant in New York. She begins with her father's apprenticeship in Japan, and then traces how her career paralleled his: the fascination with the fish market, the determination to learn traditional methods to perfection, the pride in her craft.

Barasch makes it as much a story about family values and love as it is about a woman breaking into traditional men's territory. The illustrations, in ink and watercolor, capture the bustle of two fish markets--one in Tokyo, the other the legendary Fulton Fish Market--but also neatly lays out how father and then daughter progressed from apprentice to experienced chef.

A detailed spread shows us all the different types of sushi, which I worked hard to keep from slobbering over.

Oddly enough, my son, who refuses to touch the stuff, is fascinated by this story and has requested repeated reads. Maybe I can win him over yet. A little cucumber roll, y'think?
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Lori Calabrese "Children's Books Examiner" VINE VOICE on July 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When you think of sushi, you probably think of raw fish. But sushi isn't just the most famous Japanese dish outside of Japan, it's also an art form. Hiromi's Hands is a picture book biography about one of the first female sushi chefs in New York City. It's also a great resource to help celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.

You can help celebrate family traditions, cultural heritage, world geography, and the rich diversity of Asian and Pacific Americans with books such as Hiromi's Hands. Hiromi Suzuki narrates how she followed in her father's footsteps, learning the ancient art of sushi at his side in his restaurant in New York. She begins with her father's long training as a sushi chef in Japan; his emigration to New York, where he opens his own restaurant; his marriage; and the birth of Hiromi. The tale of Hiromi is an inspirational one that will encourage young girls (or any readers for that fact!) that they can do anything!

The ink and watercolor illustrations have wonderful spreads of sushi sure to make a reader fascinated with this art form. The book concludes with an author's note about Hiromi Suzuki's career, and a glossary and pronunciation guide of Japanese words.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on May 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Award-winning children's author Lynne Barasch presents Hiromi's Handsm a picturebook the true story of Japanese-American Hiromi Suzuki, who became the world's first female sushi chef. Introduced to the taste and the art of sushi preparation by her father. "Papa was demanding and the work was hard. I knew his high standards were meant to teach me to be the best chef I could be. It took three years until I got my own yanagi and began cutting fish." An author's note about Hiromi Suzuki's extraordinary pioneering sushi career, and a glossary and pronunciation guide of Japanese words (especially words for various sushi ingredients) round out this inspirational picturebook, sure to motivate young girls to pursue their dream - or young children everywhere to try sushi!
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Format: Hardcover
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"Hiromi's Hands"
Written & Illustrated by Lynne Barasch
(Lee & Low Books, 2007)
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A marvelous true story about Hiromi Suzuki, a Japanese-American whose father was a traditionally-trained sushi chef (or itamae) who emigrated to the United States in the early 1960s, and started his own small restaurant in Manhattan. As a young girl, Hiromi expressed interest in the family business and her father, despite having been trained in the rigidly-ordered and entirely male-dominated sushi business in Japan, was willing to train her to become an itamae herself. This is a great book, promoting the values of feminism, entrepreneurship and discipline, as well as encouraging an interest in Japanese cuisine and Asian culture. Well written and more engaging than you might imagine - the book has a wonderful tone that will draw in many young readers. (Joe Sixpack, ReadThatAgain children's book reviews)
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