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Basho's Haiku Journeys

Basho's Haiku Journeys

Haiku tell the story of the poet Basho and the diaries he wrote while walking throughout Japan in the 1600s.

The seventeenth-century Japanese poet Matsuo Basho practically invented the haiku. He's most famous for his travel journals. But how did he come to be such a traveler in the first place? 

This delightful volume—composed entirely in haiku based on the poet's written travelogues and illustrated with vibrant hand-painted scenes—tells the true story of Basho's decision to abandon his comfortable city life and of the five great journeys he then took across the length and breadth of Japan.
















8 x 10"












Recipient of the 2021 Northern Lights Book Awards Poetry Category

“A glimpse into the life of a legendary poet… Whimsical haiku are paired with landscapes, rendered in bold colors that deftly blend together to invoke the feeling of misty mountains and grassy fields.”

Kirkus Reviews

"Using the style of poetry Basho is credited with popularizing, Ng recounts Basho’s travels from leaving city life behind to becoming a wanderer who embarked on five epic journeys across Japan. The book is recommended for readers aged 7–10, who will likely be inspired to write their own haiku; fortunately, there is a short explanation at the end of the book on how to compose one."

Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

"Colorful and whimsical... If you’re looking for a book to get a child interested in nature, haiku, or travel, you should give this one a look."

the !n(tro)verted yogi

"Nothing short of breathtaking... Basho's Haiku Journeys is a must-purchase for children’s librarians, language arts teachers, and parents and guardians who want their children to be curious and creative citizens of the world."

The Voracious Bibliophile

"The centuries vanish as readers turn the pages on a luminous journey through 17th century Japan. There they meet the most famous haiku poet of all and discover the vibrant beauty of the natural world. Children will be writing haiku of their own--and parents, too--as they follow the famous sage."

—Clark Strand, Author of Seeds From a Birch Tree: Writing Haiku and the Spiritual Journey and haiku columnist for Tricycle: The Buddhist Review

"Haiku is an exquisite poetic art form from Japan, rich in nature’s imagery and layered in life’s discoveries. Poet and author Freeman Ng has turned his love for writing haiku into a beautiful picture book biography about Matsuo Basho, Japan’s most famous poet of haiku. Written in Ng’s inviting haiku style and colorfully illustrated by Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem, Basho’s Haiku Journeys will entrance young readers. No doubt, these young readers will want to start writing haiku themselves!"

—Caren Stelson, author of Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor’s Story and A Bowl Full of Peace

"Through Freeman Ng's inspired haiku and Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem's dreamlike, poetic paintings, we learn about Basho's solitary pilgrimage and his quest to be one with nature. Young readers will gain a sense of 17th century Japan and its geography, and come to know one of Japan's finest poets. What a wonderful companion Basho's Haiku Journeys will be to a collection of his poetry!"

—Tracy Gallup, illustrator of My First Book of Haiku Poems

"From encouraging reflection — “The oddest feeling/swirled around him like the wind/Was it happiness?” to eliciting chuckles — “A rose of Sharon/that blooms for only one day/of its short, sweet Spring./” is followed by “In all its glory/at one moment. In the next,/devoured by his horse!”—Ng’s haiku will inspire young poets."

—Sally M. Walker, author of Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh and Earth Verse: Haiku From the Ground Up


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About the Author(s)

Freeman Ng

Freeman Ng

Freeman Ng is a former Google software engineer turned haiku poet and writer.

Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem

Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem

Cassandra Rockwood Ghanem is a San Francisco Bay Area-based poet and illustrator. 

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