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Wabi Sabi

Wabi Sabi

By Mark Reibstein, illustrated by Ed Young

Genre: Picture Book

Curriculum subjects: Animals, Individuality, Self-Discovery, Pets

Grade: P-1


2009 APALA Book Award  |  A 2008 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book 


Wabi Sabi, a little cat in Kyoto, Japan, had never thought much about her name until friends visiting from another land asked her owner what it meant.


At last, the master

Says, “That’s hard to explain.” And

That is all she says.



This unsatisfying answer sets Wabi Sabi on a journey to uncover the meaning of her name, and on the way discovers what wabi sabi is: a Japanese philosophy of seeing beauty in simplicity, the ordinary, and the imperfect.


Using spare text and haiku, Mark Reibstein weaves an extraordinary story about finding real beauty in unexpected places. Caldecott Medal-winning artist Ed Young complements the lyrical text with breathtaking collages. Together, they illustrate the unique world view that is wabi sabi.


Download Educator Guide