Grade 7 Up-As part of a Youth for Understanding Program, Wardell lived with a Japanese family for a summer, attending a local high school. This book is his diary for that period, edited yet retaining a simple, chatty style. Although readers may feel that the young man should have done a bit more homework before he went to Japan, his perspectives are fresh and unprejudiced. Ostensibly dealing with today’s youth, Wardell also makes many observations about Japan’s older generations and draws apt comparisons with Americans and their customs. Both nations come in for both sensible praise and criticism, the contrast between the two countries’ school customs being especially intriguing. YAs will find that the individual portraits as well as the overall presentation challenges American stereotypes of the Japanese. An eyeopener for general readers, this will also prove a welcome adjunct to social-studies classes.
John Philbrook, San Francisco Public Library