Ideas & Inspiration for A Tale for the Time Being
In Tokyo, sixteen-year-old Nao has decided there’s only one escape from her aching loneliness and her classmates’ bullying. But before she ends it all, Nao plans to document the life of her great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun who’s lived more than a century. A diary is Nao’s only solace—and will touch lives in a ways she can scarcely imagine.
Across the Pacific, we meet Ruth, a novelist living on a remote island who discovers a collection of artifacts washed ashore in a Hello Kitty lunchbox—possibly debris from the devastating 2011 tsunami. As the mystery of its contents unfolds, Ruth is pulled into the past, into Nao’s drama and her unknown fate, and forward into her own future.
Title-specific resources for your Book to Art Club:
Book review from The New York Times.
Book-specific material on the author’s website (interviews, booktrailers, and more!).
Suggested discussion questions from the 2013-14 common book program at the University of Wisconsin - Madison (opens as PDF).
Project ideas and inspiration on our Pinterest board for this title.
About the suggested projects:
There are a lot of artistic possibilities with this novel - trying out origami, turning an old book into a journal, etc. Since Nao is a young girl living in Japan and specifically spends time in Harajuku, I was inspired to look into some of those sickly-sweet and cute Japanese crafts we’ve all seen on the web. Just look for “kawaii crafts” (Japanese for cute) to find lots of inspiration. Plush, polymer clay, and tiny things abound.