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Welcome to My World



Have you ever thought of what it would be like to live in another part of the world? What is it like for children who move to the United States from another country? What would someone moving to the United States need to know about our culture? Some things are the same while others are very different.


You are going to help a new student from Japan feel welcome at your school before he even arrives, by creating a book. The book will show what is the same and what is different about the way Americans and Japanese live. You will be working in groups of four. Each group will do one chapter for the book.

The chapters are:



Step 1

Read A Country Far Away by Nigel Gray. Notice how a rural area of East Africa (Kenya) is compared with life in a suburban area of America. What does the author show that is the same? How does he show what is different? We are going to use this story as a model to make our own book about the United States and Japan.

Step 2

Each group should make a brainstorming list about their topic on Japan:

Step 3

Look for information about life in Japan. You may use books, CD-Roms, the Internet, magazines, or personal interviews.

Step 4

Share with your group all the information that you found, and listen to what they learned. Each of you should pick one important fact about your topic to include in the class U.S./Japan book. Decide how you are going to illustrate your fact for life in the U.S. and life in Japan. You can draw, paint, copy, or paste your illustration.

Step 5

Share the book with the class.



Japanese Fairy Tales

These tales from Japan include The Tongue-Cut Sparrow, Tiny Finger, and Urashima Taro.

Kids Web Japan

Explore Japan. Find out sports and games, culture, school, daily life, culture, economy and industry, nature and climate, regions of Japan, politics, annual calendar and much more.

Kid's Window - Learn About Japan

A collection of drawings done by Japanese children about everyday life such as houses, streets, parks, sports, pets and children.

Kids Link

An exploration of Japan covering the educational experience, museums, science, world of animals and plants, transportation, entertainment, sports, media, links to other kids pages, and general information about Japan, such as the government, economy, politics, civic activities, and traditional culture.

Ask Asia

This site has two useful sections - an Adult-Free zone for the kids featuring games, crafts, activities, and photo images, and For Educators that has lesson plans, readings and classroom activities.

Say Hello to the World

Learn how to say hello in many languages from around the world.


World Book Multimedia Encyclopedia, World Book Inc., 1997


Picture Books:

Akio Me and Alves Annick, 1993

Bauer The Magic Fan HBJ, 1989

Friedman How My Parents Learned to Eat HM, 1984

Kalman Sayonara, Mrs. Kackleman Viking, 1989

Say The Bicycle Man HM, 1982

Say The Tree of Cranes HM, 1991

Yashima Crow Boy Penguin, 1983


Hooks Peach Boy Bantam, 1992

Long The Bee and the Dream: a Japanese Tale Dutton, 1996

McCarthy Grandfather Cherry Blossom Kodansha, 1993

McCarthy Urashima and the Kingdom Beneath the Sea Kodansha, 1993

Motomora Momotara Raintree, 1989

Mosel The Funny Little Woman Dutton, 1972

Snyder The Boy of the Three Year Nap HM, 1988

Cowley The Mouse Bride Scholastic 1995


Bailey Japan Steck-Vaughn, 1990

Dawson Japan Steck-Vaughn 1996

Haskins Count Your Way Through Japan Carolrhoda, 1987

Jackson Clothes From Many Lands Steck-Vaughn, 1995

Jackson Homes Around the World Steck-Vaughn, 1995

Morris Weddings Lothrop, 1995


Hello! From Around the World: Japan Ernst Interactive Media, 1993

Learning Advice

You will be collecting a lot of information, so it is important to keep track of it. Keep a pencil and paper with you. You can take notes by using a few words or drawing a picture, making copies of pictures, or printing them out on the computer. Make sure you know where each piece of information came from.


You will be graded on:



People all around the world enjoy the same activities, but not always in exactly the same way.

Are there other activities or things that you enjoy that were not included in our book?

Would you enjoy going to live in Japan?

What do you think you would like the best?

What would you not like?


What did you do well?

What could you have done better?

Did you make good use of your time?

Look back at your brainstorming sheet?

Did you find out the answers to your questions? Why? Why not?


culture - the arts, beliefs, customs, and products of a people or group at a particular time
customs - an accepted practice followed by tradition
economy - the management of affairs of money, production, resources
festivals - a time of feasting or celebration
government - the established form for ruling a country
industry - making of goods or products, usually in a factory
politics - the activities of a government or political party
religion - a system of faith and worship
rural - of the country, not a city or town
suburban - an outlying part of a city with mostly homes

Jamie Boston, Librarian
Birch Lane & Pioneer Elementary Schools
Davis Joint Unified School District
SCORE - CH/SSP Technology Academy 1997
Lesson reviewed for accuracy by Dr.Carol Whitmer, Dean of Education Simpson College
Visit the Birch Lane Homepage at

Last Revised: 03/28/06