Jean Davies Okimoto

Dear Ichiro

A 2004 Children’s Peace Book Award Recipient

Eight-year-old Henry and his friend Oliver are having a fight. When Henry gets a time-out, he wishes Oliver would get one too — for life. "I hate Oliver," he says. "He's my enemy. I'll hate him forever." The day takes a turn when Grampa Charlie takes Henry to a baseball game. Charlie, a World War II veteran, cheers on the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuhiro Sasaki, and his enthusiasm for the Japanese players paves the way for Henry and Oliver's reconciliation. In the tradition of Baseball Saved Us, Jean Davies Okimoto's heartwarming story and Doug Keith's whimsical illustrations offer a message of hope.

From School Library Journal:
K-Gr 3-When Henry squabbles with his best friend, Oliver is sent home and Henry is absolutely convinced he will never play with him again. That afternoon, Henry's great-grandfather takes him to a Seattle Mariners baseball game. When team members Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuhiro Sasaki appear on the field, Grampa Charlie cheers along with the crowd. However, he also recalls fighting against the Japanese in World War II and marvels at the positive changes he could never have anticipated all those years ago. Henry applies his grandfather's thoughts about war and reconciliation to his friendship with Oliver and writes a letter to Suzuki sharing his grandfather's ideas. While the message of forgive and forget is the principal point of the story, it is delivered with innocent appeal. Brightly colored illustrations capture the boys' anger as well as the excitement of an afternoon at the ballpark. The introduction of actual baseball players adds authenticity, and notes provide a brief history of the emergence of baseball in Japan and the arrival of Japanese players on the American scene.-Alicia Eames, New York City Public Schools

From Midwest Book Review:
Dear Ichiro is a gentle and enjoyable picture book illustrated by Doug Keith and written by Jean Davies Okimoto that celebrates baseball as a sport cherished in both America and Japan. A young boy gets into an angry fight with his best friend, and vows to hate his former friend forever... but when he sees his grandfather, a World War II veteran, cheering for Japanese baseball players then the boy learns that it's possible for enemies to become friends again. A welcome addition for school and community library collections, Dear Ichiro is a heartwarming and enthusiastically recommended picture book story.