The Big Wave


About the story

This beautiful little story shows Pearl S. Buck’s writing power, as well as the power of nature and family love. When a tsunami takes the Japanese fishing village to sea, Kino’s family is willing to adopt his friend Jiya, who has survived the “big wave.” They’re just mountainside farmers with little money, though, and to Kino’s dismay, a rich gentleman has also offered to adopt Jiya.  As Kino and his family help Jiya work through his grief and let him make his own decision, they (and we) learn that courage can only emerge and thrive when we face danger. The Big Wave is truly a poetic, heartwarming lesson on the wonder of life.

About the LitWits Explorer’s Guide

Experience The Big Wave with your students in fun, meaningful ways! Your kids can be swept away to the terraced rice-paddies of Japan, where they’ll dine on delicacies from the sea, learn about facing fear with courage and wisdom, practice calligraphy on silk scrolls, act out earthy elements to learn some geology facts, create a window on the sea, wax poetic about earth and sea, and so much more!

LitWits Explorer’s Guides are private web pages that include creative and academic downloadables. This lesson planning resource is ideal for ages 8-12, but it’s highly adaptable. Scroll down to get more details and a free idea with template.



Product Description

The LitWits Kit for THE BIG WAVE by Pearl S Buck - LITWITSThe LitWits Explorer’s Guide for The Big Wave by Pearl S. Buck

Everything in this “experience guide” comes from our unique sensory workshop on The Big Wave.  It’s packed with hands-on ways to get into the characters’ shoes. When kids see, feel, hear, taste, smell, and DO what the characters did, they understand more. Better yet, they want to read more.

LitWits Explorer’s Guides are web pages packed with downloadables—templates, activity aids, academic handouts, and more. (Here’s a sample, for a different book.) Because our guides live online, we can link you to useful info and audiovisuals. And you’ll always have the very latest updates!

The LitWits Explorer’s Guide for The Big Wave includes:

  • sensory prop suggestions, with photos
  • creative project and activity ideas, with photos
  • printable templates, excerpts, and activity prompts
  • takeaway topics, to fuel meaningful conversations
  • printable handouts for creative writing, the narrative arc, setting, and more
  • research and audiovisual links, for one-stop prep and homework help
  • great quotes from the book, where copyright allows


This guide is adaptable to a wide range of ages. (See the Ways to Use tab for classroom and homeschool uses.) We find 8-12-year-olds consistently “ready to LitWit,” but you know best what your kids are ready for, interested in, and capable of.

Common Core Alignment
The LitWits experience of this book is jam-packed with carefully integrated lessons — but they’re embedded in FUN, so kids don’t feel “taught.”  At a bare minimum, the use of this guide helps meet these Common Core goals:

THIRD GRADE Common Core Alignment
FOURTH GRADE Common Core Alignment
FIFTH GRADE Common Core Alignment
SIXTH GRADE Common Core Alignment

Please note that LitWits® is a registered trademark of LitWits Workshops, LLC.  All LitWits Explorer’s Guides are copyrighted and may be used for non-commercial educational purposes only.

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