I was expecting to see taiko, but had no idea that the Tucson Festival of Books was going on the weekend I happened to be there. Or that the friend I was visiting is an author and was going to be giving a talk at the festival!
The book is Asako, the Girl Who Saved Her Village, and the title of the talk was Bringing the Arts, Literacy and Technology Together for Kids. The Asako story came out of Rome and Karen’s experiences teaching taiko in schools. They would teach several songs to different classes at a school, then wanted a way to present them smoothly while getting the various groups of kids on and off stage. Musical story! This also gave additional opportunities for kids to participate in the show as narrators. How cool and fun is that?!
To celebrate Odaiko Sonora‘s Tenth Anniversary they published the Asako story in book form. Initially funded with a Kickstarter campaign, the book is now in its second printing.
What about the songs? you might ask. Another neat thing about the book! They are recorded and online, available either directly on the website, or through the QR codes in the book at the appropriate places.
The fantastic illustrations were done by Nadia Hagen, artistic director of Flam Chen Pyrotechnic Theater Company, another group who uses the space at Rhythm Industry Performance Factory. Very dynamic imagery, not your usual children’s book pictures.
After the talk there was book signing! I got a copy for myself and one for World’s Cutest Nephew. I don’t think he’s ever gotten a book signed to him before, he seemed to think it was pretty cool. Darn right!