Children’s Book About Tsunami Boat Translated into Spanish - Humboldt State Now

Children’s Book About Tsunami Boat Translated into Spanish

"The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home" is a true story about students in two countries who formed a connection through a natural disaster and a boat. With the help of HSU students, the bilingual English-Japanese children’s book is now available in Spanish.

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Humboldt State University Press recently published “El Viaje Extraordinario de Kamome: Una Lanchita Sobreviviente Regresa a Casa.”

“The Extraordinary Voyage of Kamome: A Tsunami Boat Comes Home“is a heartwarming true story about students in two countries who formed a connection through a natural disaster and a boat. The bilingual English-Japanese children’s book became the inaugural publication of Humboldt State University Press in 2015.

With the help of HSU students and the campus community, a Spanish-Japanese edition, “El Viaje Extraordinario de Kamome: Una Lanchita Sobreviviente Regresa a Casa,” has just been released and is available through HSU Digital Commons and Amazon.

Written by HSU Geology Professor Emeritus Lori Dengler and Amya Miller and illustrated by Amy Uyeki, the book is meant to start a conversation about earthquake preparedness in families internationally.

<< For more background and updates go to humboldt.edu/kamome >>

The book recounts the journey of a small boat swept into the ocean after the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It drifted across the Pacific until reaching the shores of Crescent City in Northern California two years later.

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A small barnacle-encrusted boat (left) — debris from the 2011 tsunami — washed ashore in Crescent City in 2013. A group of high school students cleaned and returned it to a Japanese high school

Dengler helped confirm the vessel belonged to Takata High School in Rikuzentaka, one of several cities destroyed by the tsunami. With the assistance of Miller, the Special Assistant to the mayor of Rikuzentakata at the time, Del Norte County high school students cleaned and returned the boat to the high school in Japan, beginning a process that has resulted in four student exchanges between the schools. In April 2018, a Sister City relationship between Rikuzentakata and Crescent City was formalized.

German, Swedish, and Russian versions will be published in the future, and two Native language translations — Tolowa and Yurok – are currently under discussion. Proceeds from sales of the books are all used to support the student exchange program and to promote tsunami education and awareness.

All five languages stem from countries and tribal lands in Oregon and California that have been or can be affected by earthquakes and tsunamis.

HSU students, World Languages & Cultures Professor Rosamel Benevides-Garb, HSU’s Department of Geology, and friends of Dengler, Miller, and Uyeki have come together to make these translations possible.

The Swedish translation of the book was completed by Claire Schenke, who is a friend of Uyeki. The German translation was completed by Horst Rademacher, a lecturer at UC Berkeley, and the Russian translation was done by Elena Suliemani, a tsunami modeler at the University of Alaska.

The translations were done as part of a volunteering process for everyone involved.

“It’s been so gratifying, and everybody has been willing to help out. It has been a special experience and continues to be,” says Dengler.

The Spanish translation began as a project by Hector Flores (‘17, Geology). As an undergraduate, he completed a certificate in the Spanish Translation program, interned for the Redwood Coast Tsunami Work Group, and provided Spanish translations of a tsunami brochure, “Viviendo Sobre Tierra Instable” (Living on Shaky Ground). He received the 2015 HSU “Excellence in Community Service” award for his efforts.

Under the supervision of Benevides-Garb, 11 students in his Spanish translation and interpretation class assessed and edited the Flores translation.

Benavides-Garb, who reviewed the book and is currently the associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, says the process provided students real-world translation experience.

“An amazing work has been generated at HSU, and it’s a strong academic component generated with a global vision. Participation by students has given professional experience in return through this process,” he says. “Two communities engaged and got to know each other, and something that was a tragic event became a blessing. Professor Dengler has managed to do this by educating a larger population about natural disasters.”

The Japanese, English, and Spanish audio versions are available at https://digitalcommons.humboldt.edu/monographs/1/.