A Selection of International Children's and Youth Literature

Japanese / Japan

Kimi wa shiranai hō ga ii
(It’s better you don’t know)

Iwase, Jōko (text)
Hasegawa, Shūhei (illus.)
Tōkyō: Bunken Shuppan, 2014. – 182 p.
(Series: Bunken jubenīru)
ISBN 978-4-580-82232-0

School – Bullying – Friendship – Homelessness

Meri is afraid of being ostracized by her classmates after they have bullied her so. Even while she sympathises with an excluded classmate, she can do nothing to help her. One day, Meri sees another classmate, Hiruma, at the bus stop and asks where he is going. He replies: “It’s better you don’t know.” Later, she sees him with a homeless man called Kuni at the station. Kuni’s stories about his hard childhood fascinate Hiruma. When Hiruma is absent from school for days due to having been bullied, Meri searches for him, and discovers that Kuni has also disappeared. When Hiruma finally comes home, he says that Kuni just took his money and left. Meri’s independent grandmother and bartender uncle, who wants to be a writer, are depicted with particular depth and sensitivity. This poignant children’s novel treats the theme of subtle, almost invisible bullying, by capturing the feeling and experiences of characters who feel trapped at school, trying to survive each day. (Age: 9+)