Suzanne Kamata is the author of the YA novels Gadget Girl: The Art of Being Invisible and Screaming Divas recently gave us an advance copy of her nonfiction book A Girls’ Guide to the Islands, about traveling in Japan with her daughter who has multiple disabilities.

The book was reviewed by Janice G, who loves to travel and also has a child with disabilities.

I love to travel.

So many places call out to me to explore and experience things I cannot at home.

When I discover a place that I love, I want to share that with my family which includes our son who uses a wheelchair. It is at this point that travel planning can become difficult – reading and researching. I am so thankful for those resources that clearly say things like “use this elevator” or “no access to this area of a museum” etc.

In reading Suzanne Kamata’s book A Girl’s Guide to the Islands I discovered a book that both ignited the desire to see the places she traveled with her daughter, who has both a physical and a hearing disability, and gave me the practical info I would want. The beauty is that she gives the practical way by subtly hiding it in the prose. Along with both of those enticements to travel was a look at some unique art exhibits and islands that I don’t believe many travel guides would cover.

She begins her travel to art exhibits with her daughter by going to Osaka by bus. She struggles with knowing how tiring this trip will be and wishing she had not suggested, it until she realizes the benefit to her daughter and to their relationship will outweigh the difficulties. In this she gives a real look into the thoughts of a parent of a child with special needs – the desire to expose your child to all that the world has to offer with the knowledge of how time and energy consuming it can be to both plan and execute an accessible trip. “on the way home I feel pleasantly exhausted and hopeful” I really identified with the honesty of the author.

I would highly recommend this book for the information on art in Japan, some unique places to visit in Japan, and for a peek into the thoughts of a parent of a child with special needs, but overwhelmingly because of its writing style that beautifully uses prose as an artist would use brush strokes, both wide and narrow, to expose a little of her and her daughter’s life in Japan.

A Girl’s Guide to the Islands is available now.  Get it on Amazon or see Suzanne’s website for more information.


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