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HotakaWhat people are saying about Hotaka


'A fictionalised narrative follows a young survivor of the 2011 tsunami in Japan and looks at how his life and town change in its wake.
Heffernan’s dramatic account spares its readers little, using its propulsive plotting to highlight not only the immediate devastation of the tsunami, but also its lingering effects. Helpful addenda include a glossary of Japanese words, historical timeline, and sources for additional reading. Fans aging out of the popular I Survived... series may appreciate the same quick pacing and the deeper dive into the aftermath of a natural disaster.
A gripping examination of a tsunami and its aftermath. (map, author’s note, timeline, glossary) (Historical fiction. 7–13)'
Kirkus Reviews (July 2017)

'This is the first in a new series of Through My Eyes, this time focusing on natural disaster zones. Hotaka is a boy growing up in the coastal town of Omori-wan in Japan. In 2011, this town and many others, fell victim to a devastating tsunami. I found this story very engaging – the characters were very sympathetic and it was especially satisfying to meet a female character who was strong, yet fragile; confident, but insecure. The way the children use social media to expose the issues and promote their cause is a great device. John Heffernan has clearly done a lot of research for this story and he has told it with care and attention to detail. A terrific story – I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series as it emerges.'
Sue Osborne (Magpies, May 2017)

'It was such an immersive read. Hotaka and his friends, in a way, were similar to the golden trio from Harry Potter. This book not only talks about the horrific disaster but the after effects of it all. The economy was in ruins, corruptions had taken place. All these affected the people of Omori-wan, and ultimately our beloved characters. A poignant coming of age story about overcoming grievance and cherishing the people we have in our lives … effectively highlights the after effects of a traumatic event and the struggles that came with it.'
Cath (Books and Films for the soul, March 2017)

'John Heffernan explores what it is like to live in a recovering disaster zone and how political addenda can have devastating consequences. It is through the highs and lows of his relationships that Hotaka comes to terms with his past and looks forward. It is also through his friends that he learns to fight for what is right even when the consequences are dire. Hotaka will be a regular go-to in the classroom and a perfect starting point when discussing natural disasters.'
Jo Burnell (Kids Book Review, March 2017)