Setsuko – Fiona Barker

Setsuko and the Song of the Sea

Setsuko loves the sea. She swims and dives in it. Setsuko is a strong girl who is on the path to becoming a real-life mermaid, a bit like the ama-san in Japan. Her friends, however, prefer to play on land, so she spends a lot of time by herself.

One day, she meets a friend, a whale, who is alone just like Setsuko. They become friends and help each other. The whale gives Setsuko a gift, which she shares with her people.

This is a beautiful book, and my children and I have spent so much time looking at the pictures already. The colours are amazing, and there is so much detail. My son loved the words in Japanese on each page; the girls just liked looking at the girl enjoying the sea. They were so happy to see her friends swimming with her near the end.

It’s a lovely book to remind children about the beauty all around them, and that it is important to take care of creation. There is no threat in the book, just a lovely, positive message, encouraging children to be involved. It speaks about the beauty and mystery of the sea, and how the people are reminded of this. Remembering this spurs them on to clean up the beach, but there is no pressure, it’s done with love.

What a wonderful way to inspire children to take care of their surroundings! A percentage of each book is donated to the Marine Conservation Society. The book is written by Fiona Barker, the illustrations are done by Howard Gray.

I received a review copy but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review. These views are my own (and my children’s!).

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