"Opening a book is like opening the door to different worlds. But what the end of a book brings us is not the closing of a door, but the opening of other doors, because when we read a story we come to see different worlds, and they are, in turn, beginnings."
There is an ineffable charm, compassion, and élan in the work of this great Japanese author. Whether in her many marvellous and funny picture books, or her great series of novels about the witch Kiki, or her novel set during World War II about a brave girl who must walk through a terrifying tunnel of trees to get to school, Kadono’s books are always surprising, engaging, and empowering. And almost always fun. And always life affirming.
Although, Kadono has travelled widely throughout the world, her stories are deeply rooted in Japan and show us a Japan that is filled with all kinds of unexpected people. Her female characters are singularly self-determining and enterprising; figuring out how to cope with all kinds of complications without suffering too many self-doubts – though some of these do creep in. As such, they are perfect for this time when we are all seeking girls and women in books who can inspire and delight us with their agency. The language in her picture books is notable for its playfulness and use of onomatopoeia. And of course, the beautiful, but simple language in her novels makes them extremely readable.