Tsunami Girl

"Heart-warming and heart-wrenching" The Scotsman

Tsunami Girl by Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada, published by Guppy Books , March 2021.

SHORTLISTED for the 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal

Shortlisted for Southern Schools Book Award
Shortlisted for the UKLA Awards 2022
Shortlisted for Hounslow Teen Awards
Shortlisted for Cumbria Spellbinding Award
Shortlisted for North Herts Book Award
Shortlisted for Hampshire Book Awards

"A truly immersive and compulsive reading experience"
Joy Court, LoveReading4Kids

"Heart-warming and heart-wrenching" The Scotsman

"A unique collaboration…impressive and original" Financial Times

Part prose, part manga, Tsunami Girl is a coming-of-age novel set against the unfolding of an unforeseen crisis of colossal scale. Yūki Hara Jones is a quarter Japanese girl growing up in the UK. Troubled at school she travels to stay with her beloved Japanese grandpa on the Fukushima coast, arriving on the eve of the March 2011 Great Eastern Japan Earthquake, tsunami and radiation disaster.

Somewhere in the tsunami and radiation exclusion zone lies a path between worlds for Y
ūki to follow, through the darkest of times and back towards the light.

The manga story graphically tells one version of the story as Y
ūki uses her powers of imagination to find a way not just to survive, but to live again - and incorporates elements of Japanese folklore, ghost stories and the alternative gekiga comic tradition. They have been beautifully realised by Chie Kutsuwada.

Julian says:
Through meeting survivors and my research in Fukushima, alongside my work as a writer and my experience as a therapist, I knew this was a story I had to tell. The hardest thing was to find a version of the story that was emotionally true, and honoured so many of the stories I had heard from local residents.

Ultimately, Tsunami Girl is a book about how some of the stories we tell ourselves can trap us, whilst others can give us the power to survive almost unimaginable catastrophe, and emerge to live freely and fully. I’m totally delighted that Guppy Books have taken Tsunami Girl under their wing.

Chie Kutsuwada was born and brought up in Japan. A well-known figure in teaching manga in the UK, Chie went to Central Saint Martin’s for her art major and continued her studies at the Royal College of Art. She now works as a professional manga artist and lives in Brighton.

Visit and subscribe to Chie's YouTube channel


Chie says: “That earthquake traumatised me even though I was not directly affected. Since then I have been avoiding to know much about it because it hurts. When Julian contacted me, I thought this is a great chance for me to face my fear and to understand the real impact of that tragedy on those people. I am honoured to join the team and I will do my best to realise Julian’s and Yuki’s thoughts visually ”

Bella Pearson, publisher at Guppy Books, acquired world rights from Kirsty McLachlan at David Godwin Associates. She says: “
I am so happy that Guppy Books will be publishing this important novel from Julian and Chie, and so excited to be involved in a project which marries manga and text together in such an emotionally satisfying and original storytelling way.”