Summer Reading – 2021

All it takes is a stack of great books and a commitment to read every day!

To support our students with their summer reading goals, the ASIJ Elementary Library allows returning students to check out books during summer vacation. If your child is interested in participating in summer check out, please complete the summer checkout parent permission form below. 

Click on link:  Summer Checkout Parent Permission Form

due May 31st

  • This form is required for returning students to check out books.
  • This year, homerooms will have a specified time for students to check out their summer reading books.
  • Students will be limited to 10 print books.
  • All books are due on student orientation day in August.

Ms. Pretz’ Recommended Reading Lists

(Click on the hyperlink above to access Ms. Pretz’ recommended reading lists.)

Best Books of the Year 2020

(collated by Ms. Pretz – ASIJ ES Teacher-Librarian)

SORA App How To Access Tutorial and How to Navigate SORA Tutorial

Step 1: On your iPad install the SORA app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. On your laptop point your browser to

Step 2: On SORA find The American School in Japan (tap). 

Step 3:  Then sign-in using your ASIJ Student Gmail login.  

All ASIJ Student Gmail logins start with the students’ graduation year followed by last name and first initial. Example:

All ASIJ Parents should log in using “The Gate” username and password is the number on the back of your ASIJ ID card.

Step 3:  Tap the Explore tab (binoculars icon). 

Step 4:  Tap Open Book or Open Audiobook to read or listen to the book. Tap Options to renew or return the book.

Step 5: Go to the SORA bookshelf icon and click on OPTIONS to return a book early or to renew a book.  

Please email or for assistance using this app.

Kidcast Recommendations

Podcasts to educate, encourage curiosity, build passion, and an added bonus…they are entertaining!


Today’s top stories and current events, all nonpartisan and age appropriate.

Wow in the World

Join hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas on a journey away from your screens, inside your brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation.

Story Seeds

On each episode, kids collaborate with famous authors to grow their story ideas


Tumble is a science podcast for kids, to be enjoyed by the entire family. We tell stories about science discoveries, with the help of scientists!  Join Lindsay and Marshall as they ask questions, share mysteries, and share what science is all about.

The Past & the Curious

This amusing podcast features people telling interesting, little-known stories from history with an emphasis on fun and humor. 

But Why

But Why is a show led by you, kids! You ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there.On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.Have a question?

Source: School Library Journal

Gr. 4 Virtual Author’s Visit – Grant Faulkner

 Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month,  co-host of the podcast Write-Minded, a member of the Oakland Book Festival’s Literary Council, a member of the National Writing Project Writers Council, a member of Lit Camp’s Advisory Council, and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Words’ Creative Council. Beyond his adult fiction he has written Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights & Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo and Brave the Page. I am honored that Grant is so graciously giving up an evening to do a virtual author’s visit with our students. During his visit he will offer tips about how get started writing and helpful ideas about what to do when the words just aren’t quite coming out right.

Sakura Medal Winners 2021






Congratulations to all of the students who read Sakura Medal books this year! 

 3,611 books were read by students in Grades 2-5.

17 students read all of the books in at least one category this year and a big shout-out to Tera Kobayashi and Mia Kagimoto who read all 46 books.

2T, 3M, 4W and 5C read the most books for their grade levels.

And a special congratulations to 5C for reading 295 Sakura Medal Books!


Picture Books

Emily 2T, Cailey 2P, Levy 2Y, Neil 3M, Cameron 3Be,

Saki 4W Elise 4Y

Picture Book & Graphic Novels

Luca 3Be, Hugo 3M, Amel 3Be

Graphic Novels

Yuzuki 4K, Kyoka 4K, Kaia 4W

Len 5C, Rania Jain 5R

Chapter Books

Lynn 4K

All Books

Tera 4W and Mia 4W

2nd Annual Books2Eat Challenge

The only rule is to make edible art that has something to do with books as shapes and/or content.  Last year students made their edible art from cakes, cookies, pancakes, ice cream, fruit, whipped cream, marshmallows, pretzels, vegetables and there were even a few “book bentos”.

How To Make Marshmallow Fondant

Be Creative! Have Fun! Be A Baker Maker!

Submit 2 photos by May 30th.  Send photos as an attachment in an email or chat to

  1. A closeup of the edible art and the book (image can be from the book, a print out of cover, or an image on your computer or iPad).
  2. A photo of the edible art and the baker.

Here is an example of the two photos we need:

If you share on your personal social media, please use the hashtag #asijbooks2eat2021 – We can’t wait to see your masterpieces!! 

Click here to watch last year’s virtual Books2Eat video (all divisions)