California Educator

December 2015

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Page 47 of 63

H ow do children deal with loss, abuse and other tragedies? How can they survive and heal? Loriene Honda's story e Cat Who Chose to Dream, a Cal- ifornia Reads recommendation for 2015-16, answers these questions through a visually compelling tale of a cat's life with his family in a Japanese internment camp in World War II. ough the book deals with a specific — and shameful — period in United States history, its message is universal: To survive trauma, there is much you can't control, but you can control your imagination and your dreams. rough the cat's eyes, readers see the injustice of the camp, and expe- rience its impact on the family and others. But through breathing and visualization exercises, the cat is transported to a place where he is no longer encumbered and restrained, but self-empowered and free. Honda was inspired to write the book by the artwork of Jimmy Tsu- tomu Mirikitani, an internment camp survivor who ended up homeless but became known for his drawings of cats. A Harvard and Columbia Universi- ty-trained psychologist, Honda was familiar with using art as a therapeutic tool in her work with children who have been neglected or abused, or have suffered other trauma. In addition, her own father had spent four ye ars in the Manzanar internment camp. Here are excerpts from a CTA video interview in which Honda, who lives in Davis with her husband and children, talks about how the book came together, its message, and her deep connection to educators. See the full video at Honda will be signing her books at the Issues Conference and State Council in January 2016 and at both of CTA's Good Teaching Conferences (in February and April) as well. Photos courtesy Amy Shane T H E P O W E R O F D R E A M S Children's book explores the mind's role in surviving trauma 46

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