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Read Out Loud | WHEN THE COUSINS CAME by Katie Yamasaki


Sometimes when we are really excited about something that is going to happen, we picture it in our minds beforehand — what a birthday party will be like, what might be under the Christmas tree, or even how a visit with our favourite people might go. Sometimes what ends up happening isn’t quite how we imagined it!

In this episode of Read Out Loud, join author/illustrator Katie Yamasaki as she reads WHEN THE COUSINS CAME, a book about difference, adversity, and how we deal with things when they don’t quite meet our expectations.


by Katie Yamasaki

Lila is excited for her cousins Takeo and Rosie to visit. They’re going to ride bikes, paint, and camp together! But when the cousins arrive, everything’s wrong: Rosie and Takeo are better painters than Lila, have skateboards instead of bikes, and don’t want to camp outside. Lila is terribly disappointed until the cousins make her a surprise: a big banner for their “best cousin” Lila! This sensitive story about insecurity, hosting, and friendship reminds children that negative thoughts and anxiety over exclusion don’t always translate to reality.


Yamasaki’s mural work has enabled her to travel widely, creating visual dialogues among diverse communities. From schools to prisons, housing occupations to hospitals, Yamasaki sees her art as a vehicle for dialogue, a tool for building platforms for communication. Yamasaki has painted over 80 murals around the world. Another major focus of Yamasaki’s work is storytelling. She has published 3 books: Honda, The Boy Who Dreamed of Cars (Lee and Low, 2007); Lifelines, the Black Book of Proverbs (Broadway Books/Random House, 2009), and Fish for Jimmy, her first book as both author and illustrator (Holiday House, 2013). Yamasaki also has two additional books in the works as author/illustrator, “When the Cousins Came,” (Holiday House, est. 2017) and the biography of her architect grandfather, Minoru Yamasaki, “YAMA,” (Lee & Low, est. 2017). Yamasaki earned BA at Earlham College and her MFA in the Illustration as Visual Essay program from the School of Visual Arts in 2003, where she is currently a member of the faculty.Yamasaki comes from a huge, diverse family, that is full of (among many other things), artists and teachers.

ABOUT Holiday House

Since its beginnings in 1935 as the first American publishing house founded with the purpose of publishing only children’s books, Holiday House has been proud to gather together talented authors and illustrators and to publish quality books that entertain, enlighten, and educate children. Known for having a deep list of timeless and award-winning books for children and young adult readers, Holiday House publishes the award-winning I Like to Read® series of picture books for emergent readers and launched its first eponymous imprints, Margaret Ferguson Books and Neal Porter Books, in 2018. The iconic logo of the Holiday House little boy is by Ernest H. Shepard, the renowned illustrator of The Wind in the Willows and the Winnie the Pooh books, from our original edition of The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame.

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Kid Lit TV Commenter Michelle Pate

I enjoyed this story and think it will be one to share with my students when school starts up again.

Kid Lit TV Commenter Stephanie Cummings

Congratulations, Michelle! You have won our WHEN THE COUSINS CAME GIVEAWAY! Please direct message us on Facebook with your address so we can pop your prize in the post!

Kid Lit TV Commenter Moses Brodin

“These are the games I often played with my childhood friends. Now missing the good old days after reading this article. Thanks for reminding me my childhood.

Ragerds:Moses Brodin


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