Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen
Our latest beginning chapter book read aloud, Jasmine Toguchi Mochi Queen. Jasmine is 8 years old, and tired of always being “too young” for everything. Her older sister, Sophia, always gets to do everything first. Including this year, with Sophia turning 10, for the first time gets to help her mother and aunties roll the mochi for Mochitsuki, a Japanese New Year’s tradition. This honor has long been coveted by Jasmine, who is excluded purely by age. Determined to participate, Jasmine decides if she can’t assist her mother, she’ll prove her strength and help the men pound the mochi rice instead. Her grandmother is skeptical and dismissive of this idea, reminding Jasmine that mochi pounding is traditionally reserved for boys. But Jasmine ignores this and willfully proceeds on her quest. She is over the patriarchy and determined to prove her strength and value as a part of the team.
Engaging and interesting, Jasmine is an inviting and relatable protagonist. The first of a series, we plan to read the next few as Jasmine is a spirited and independent force! My kids and I also loved peeling back the curtain and learning about another culture’s New Year’s traditions.