HOTAKA is the first book in the second Through My Eyes series from Allen & Unwin that examines natural disasters - a starkly realistic novel about the Japanese tsunami of March, 2011. It explores the impact of the disaster on one teenage boy, the introspective Hotaka, and to a lesser degree on his two best friends, feisty Sakura and tech-head Osamu. In doing this, the book also examines the huge social impact of the disaster on Hotaka's once beautiful little town of Omori-wan, utterly destroyed by the wave.
This is an uplifting book about hope and resilience in the face of loss, grief and tragedy, about the need people have for each other in times of adversity. On one level it is a simple human story of a boy facing the truth. Yet it is also a melding of many individual stories. In its broadest sense, HOTAKA is a tribute to the people of the Tohoku region for their amazing strength and capacity to help each other rise from the ashes and rebuild their lives.
"I travelled to Japan to research HOTAKA, talking to a range of teenage students, as well as teachers and principals. This deepened my grasp of the huge personal and social impact of the 2011 Tohoku disaster, and helped me understand some of the complexities of Japanese culture."
HOTAKA is suitable for readers from Upper Primary to Middle High School.