Cool Melons— Turn to Frogs! The Life and Poems of Issa

By Matthew Gollub
Illustrated by Kazuko G. Stone

Paperback: $12.95

Hardcover: out of stock


For hundreds of years, school children in Japan have been introduced to poetry through the work of Issa. Born in 1763 on a farm in central Japan, Issa began writing poetry as a young child, inspired by his deep love for the natural world. Later in his boyhood and throughout his life, poetry was also Issa's refuge in times of joy and in times of suffering.

Matthew Gollub's poignant rendering of Issa's life and over thirty of his best-loved poems, along with Kazuko Stone's sensitive and humorous watercolor paintings, make Cool Melons a classic introduction to Issa's work for readers of all ages. With authentic Japanese calligraphy, a detailed Afterword, and exhaustive research by both author and illustrator, this is also an inspirational book about haiku, writing, nature, and life.

Check out the classroom-tested, standards-aligned lesson plan Experiencing Haiku Through Mindfulness, Movement & Music by Rashna Wadia with Cool Melons— Turn to Frogs! provided by, a website developed by the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.

With students, try "4 Haiku-Sparking Activities" from author Matthew Gollub.

About the Creators

Thumb_thumb Matthew Gollub - Author

is the author of many award-winning books for children, including Ten Oni Drummers and Cool Melons, an ALA Notable Book and a Horn Book "Fanfare" selection, published by LEE & LOW. He lives in Santa Rosa, California, with his wife and their son. To find out more about Matthew Gollub, visit his Web site:

Thumb_thumb Kazuko G. Stone

has illustrated many books for children in the United States and her native Japan. Some of her American titles include DOROBO THE DANGEROUS, GOOD NIGHT, TWINKLE GATOR, and ALIGAY SAVES THE DAY. Stone was born in Tokyo and now lives in New York City. She has two grown children, a daughter and son. In addition to illustrating, she teaches design at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parson’s School of Design. Visit her online at