While I Was Away

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Product Details

$17.99  $16.73
Quill Tree Books
Publish Date
5.8 X 8.2 X 1.2 inches | 0.85 pounds

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About the Author

Waka T. Brown was the first American born in her family. She is a Stanford graduate with a master's degree in secondary education. She's currently an instructor at the Stanford Program on International and Cross-Cultural Education (SPICE), authoring curriculum on several international topics and winning the Association for Asian Studies' national Franklin Buchanan Prize. She's also been awarded the US-Japan Foundation and EngageAsia's national 2019 Elgin Heinz Outstanding Teacher award for her groundbreaking endeavors in teaching about US-Japan relations to high school students in Japan and promoting cultural exchange awareness. She lives with her family in Portland, Oregon.


Brown's debut explores having one foot in two cultures in an age-appropriate memoir. This personal story offers readers a glimpse at Japanese and American cultural differences while stressing that what makes things different is also what makes them unique.--Publishers Weekly
Poignant and realistic. Today's tweens will see many similarities between [Waka's] experiences and their own. Immigrants from any culture will identify with the difficulties of negotiating a new country and school. --Booklist (starred review)
[An] engaging memoir.--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
Conversational and accessible. An emotional, contemplative tale of risking and growing.--Kirkus Reviews
Brown's story is very compelling, reads like a novel, and is extremely well written. Don't miss this wonderful book.--Portland Book Review
Fans of Erin Entrada Kelly and Jasmine Warga will enjoy Brown's honest exploration of differences between American and Japanese culture and her sometimes bumpy journey to fit in. This memoir artfully depicts Brown's experience as a child who feels pulled between two cultures. A welcome addition to any middle grade collection.--School Library Journal