The latest children’s book from Los Angeles illustrator and author Sunny Seki, “Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll,” has been the recipient of two major awards.

The first is the 2012 Book of the Year award for storybooks on learning foreign cultures. This is sponsored by Creative Child Magazine, a national bi-monthly publication that provides parents with the latest information on how to nurture their children’s creativity.

The second honor came from Paper Tigers, a website specializing in multicultural books that focus on the Pacific Rim and Asia. For 2012, Seki’s book was chosen for the Spirit of Paper Tigers book set.

Several hundred copies of the three books selected for this honor are sent to schools and libraries all over the world, and especially to places that might not otherwise have access to quality children’s literature. Visit the website,, to read an extensive interview with Seki and also view samples of his illustrations.

Yuko-chan, an adventurous blind orphan, is able to do amazing things. She confronts a temple burglar in the dead of night, and crosses treacherous mountain passes to deliver food to hungry people. During her travels, Yuko-chan trips and tumbles down a snowy cliff. She discovers a strange thing as she waits for help: her tea gourd, regardless of how she drops it, always lands right-side-up. The tea has frozen in the bottom of the gourd. Inspired by this, she creates the famous Daruma doll toy, which rights itself when tipped — a true symbol of resilience.

Thanks to Yuko-chan’s invention, the villagers are able to earn a living and feed themselves by selling the dolls. Yuko-chan never gave up, no matter the obstacles she faced, and the Daruma doll is a charming reminder of the power of perserverence.

To order your own personalized copy of “Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll” or any of Seki’s other books (including “The Tale of the Lucky Cat” and “The Last Kappa of Old Japan”), visit

“Yuko-chan and the Daruma Doll” is also available for purchase at Kinokuniya Bookstores.

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