A pair of cousins separated by language, continent and culture meet for the first time when Jill travels to Japan to visit her far-flung cousin. Natsumi’s nervousness about meeting Jill disappears when she discovers her cousins is much like her: they both love hot sandy beaches, cool watermelon, and bursting fireworks. But what about Natsumi’s cherished cicadas? What will Jill think of the insects that sing the music of summer?



“Poetry and art harmoniously evoke the simplicity of a summer friendship set in Japan…Immersive illustrations and rich poetry urge young readers to slow down and appreciate nature.” —Kirkus (starred review)

“The Obon festival scene is visually striking with the glow of yellow lanterns against dark purple shadows. The text is presented in the form of tanka poems (five lines with 31 syllables) and features lovely phrases.” —Booklist

“A tender, evocative story that celebrates the special pleasures of summertime and of reunions with faraway family and friends.” —CBC Books

“Words by Robert Paul Weston and pictures by Misa Saburi are perfectly matched in their delicate beauty and sensitivity to the fears and pleasures of childhood…Natsumi’s Song of Summer needs to be experienced in its totality in order to fully appreciate the accomplishment of this author and illustrator team.” —Imaginary Elevators

“Weston writes his tale in elegant tanka…Saburi’s thick black lines recall traditional Japanese woodblock prints, and she portrays the creatures and summer flowers that Natsumi treasures in rich detail. In the collaborators’ handling, Natsumi’s cross-cultural friendship with Jill centers on a shared love of natural life and models openness to new experiences.” —Publishers Weekly

“A lovely combination of two artistries. The story is written in a series of compelling and lyrical tanka poems…[the illustrations] feature large rich landscapes often over double pages, vibrant flowers, and images of two young children (and a cat!) focused exclusively on their friendship and their delight in shared experiences.” —CM Magazine

“This is a lovely celebration of family and friendship. It also pays particular attention to the beauty to be found in the natural world.” —Sal’s Fiction Addiction