Book Review: Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen

23 Feb

My sister recently asked me,

“Have you read the Jasmine Toguchi series– beginner chapter books about a Japanese-American girl?”

I had not heard of it, but I immediately got a copy to read. And I loved it!


The book I read was the first in the series, called “Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen“. It is written by Debbi Michiko Florence with illustrations by Elizabet Vukovic. I was immediately enamored by the main character– a spunky 8-year old girl who is a member of a warm and loving (and sometimes annoying) Japanese family, living in the United States. She reminded me of my own 9-year old daughter, sometimes so much so that I found myself laughing out loud and saying to my husband, “Listen to this! It’s just like our kids!”.

The book has won numerous awards including:

A Junior Library Guild Fall 2017 Selection
An Amazon’s Best Children’s Books of 2017
An Evanston Public Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids List 2017
A Chicago Public Library’s Best of the Best Books 2017
A 2017 Nerdy Book Club Award Winner

There are currently 2 books in this series with 2 more coming soon (Read about them HERE). They are recommended for grades 1-4 (or ages 6-9). My daughter who is in 4th grade (and is a higher-level reader) said she liked the book but “it’s better for 2nd graders”. It is a great way to learn a little bit about Japanese culture in a very relatable way.

I personally would have loved to have had this series when I was a child. There is such a lack of children’s books starring Japanese American families. Author Debbi Florence is a third generation Japanese American and native Californian. She currently resides in Connecticut. If you are interested in having her visit your schools to talk about Japanese culture and the writing process, you can find out how HERE!


Author of the “Jasmine Toguchi” series, Debbi Florence

You can purchase “Jasmine Toguchi: Mochi Queen” HERE, via Amazon (affiliate link).

This post was not sponsored by Debbi Florence or Farrar Straus Giroux Books for Young Readers. All opinions are unbiased, honest, and completely my own. 


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